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Seattle: Gary Scelzi preview

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Seattle: Gary Scelzi preview
Jul 19, 2007, 8:14 PM

SCELZI EYES FIRST SEATTLE FUNNY CAR WIN KENT, Wash. (July 18, 2007) - Four-time NHRA champion Gary Scelzi, who says he's stepping down at the end of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season (he's calling it a sabbatical not a retirement), ...

SCELZI EYES FIRST SEATTLE FUNNY CAR WIN

KENT, Wash. (July 18, 2007) - Four-time NHRA champion Gary Scelzi, who says he's stepping down at the end of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season (he's calling it a sabbatical not a retirement), would like to complete this voyage with a Funny Car class victory at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals this weekend. He's won at Pacific Raceways twice in Top Fuel, but never in Funny Car since he joined that category in 2002.

With 35 victories in 56 final rounds notched in his pro career, which began in 1997, the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing has a solid record at this track. Besides his two Top Fuel wins, he won his first Alcohol Funny Car race here in 1992, beating Pat Austin, the popular driver from the Northwest known as the "John Force" of his time in that category. Scelzi has also qualified No. 1 four times here (three in Top Fuel, once in Funny Car), has one runner-up finish in TF in 1997, and still holds the Funny Car top-speed track record here of 325.85 mph, set in 2005.

All those stats of success aside, the Fresno, Calif., native is somewhat ambivalent about his expectations for this weekend's event. "The track is the same it has always been, and it's the way it's always going to be, it seems," he said. "You go there looking for good results because of all the trees around which makes good oxygen, but you know you're going to a race track that needs a facelift.

"You're mainly trying to control all the easy horsepower you make because the air is so good while you're racing on a marginal race track. So, we'll go there and try to manage our power and hopefully we can win.

"The good news is that it's the same for everybody, and hopefully it won't get too hot, because if it gets hot it's really going to be a challenge to get down the track.

"I definitely like racing in Seattle. It's a great location, with terrific restaurants in the area. I just can't wait until they get their new facility done."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi