Scelzi No. 1 Qualifier on Fri. in Seattle KENT, Wash. (July 25, 2003) - Gary Scelzi put his Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus Funny Car smack into the No. 1 position in this evening's second qualifying session, with a stout 4.964/299.33 mph pass,...
Scelzi No. 1 Qualifier on Fri. in Seattle
KENT, Wash. (July 25, 2003) - Gary Scelzi put his Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus Funny Car smack into the No. 1 position in this evening's second qualifying session, with a stout 4.964/299.33 mph pass, which put back that smile on not only Scelzi's face but the faces of his crew and crew chief Mike Neff. In the first session, in the heat of the Northwest sun, Scelzi's 5.165/284.15 pass was good for No. 2 at that point. These two strong passes were important to the team that has struggled this season.
"I was nervous because the left-hand lane has more bumps in it," said Scelzi, who's still looking for his first Funny Car win. "And when I did the burnout and pushed the clutch in and was coasting down, the wheelie bar hit two or three times on those bumps. I thought, Oh, this is going to get exciting. We were fine with what we did earlier today, and that's why it's so important. That's what all the drivers say, that it's so important to get down the race track on the first run so you have something to look at. Theoretically and historically, the right-hand lane is the best lane here. That was the lane we wanted for this afternoon's run."
Scelzi credits his crew chief Mike Neff for the good results. "I am so impressed with Mike Neff right now and I have been since we tested in Phoenix before the season started. He's really good, he's young, he's aggressive."
There's no question that the Oakley Dodge is fast, with Scelzi establishing a national speed record with his 328.06 mph lap in Joliet, Ill., this year, but the team has been searching for consistency all season. "We set the national record at 328. It runs 4.70, it runs 325, 328 or it smokes the tires. There's no happy medium," he said. "It's like a finicky cat, you never know what you're going to get. We try to slow it down and sometimes it'll shake and it smokes the tires, and sometimes it just overpowers it, and we've had a hard time getting a handle on it this year. That's why we're 11th in points. The good news is that every time we pull next to Tony (Pedregon) or (John) Force or any of these hitters they know they've got a real race car next to them and they know that we can do some damage, even though we haven't done it yet. But I think and I feel this is what you're going to see from here on out. I've been feeling this for a while, but it looks like we've finally put it together."