SCELZI SNARES NO. 9 IN SONOMA QUALIFYING SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2008) - Gary Scelzi was forced to qualify the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car without the full 100-percent expertise of tuner Todd Okuhara the last two days, as the ...
SCELZI SNARES NO. 9 IN SONOMA QUALIFYING
SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2008) - Gary Scelzi was forced to qualify the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car without the full 100-percent expertise of tuner Todd Okuhara the last two days, as the Mopar/Oakley Dodge crew chief had to make several visits to the local Novato, Calif., hospital to be treated for vertigo.
With the help of the DSR Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge team's crew chief Phil Shuler, Scelzi posted two of four solid passes to qualify No. 9 in the 16-car Funny Car field at the 21st annual NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway.
His best pass of 4.152 seconds at 297.42 mph came in the cooler Friday evening session. His other laps were a 6.840/95.48 (DNQ), a 6.033/113.40 (No. 9), and finally a 4.277/285.59 in the hottest part of the day on a track with temperatures hovering around the 130-degree mark.
"Two out of four is OK," said Scelzi, a Fresno, Calif., native. "I'd like to have seen us go down the track more, but under the circumstances, with the hot weather and Phil jumping from car to car, I'm pretty pleased.
"I really feel sorry for Todd having to deal with vertigo. He's been to the hospital a couple of times already. He feels better when he's there and when he gets back here he will not go to his hotel room. He wants to be in the trailer, and with all the movement around him I don't think that helps.
"I'm hoping he feels better tomorrow and that we can bring him a hat and a trophy because that's what I think he deserves, and we miss him.
"I really have to thank Phil. We get along so well and I feel good that he's here to take Todd's place, because they work so well together and I know they're making about the same moves. I really appreciate the Rockstar guys and Phil stepping in here and making us feel comfortable."
Scelzi faces points leader Tim Wilkerson in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.