St. Louis: Gary Scelzi final summary

SCELZI ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS ON 'ONE-LANE' RACE TRACK IN ST. LOUIS MADISON, Ill. (May 6, 2007) - No. 8 qualifier Gary Scelzi advanced to the Funny Car quarterfinal round for the second straight 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event...

SCELZI ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS ON 'ONE-LANE' RACE TRACK IN ST. LOUIS

MADISON, Ill. (May 6, 2007) - No. 8 qualifier Gary Scelzi advanced to the Funny Car quarterfinal round for the second straight 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event today at the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.

On a track that endured rain showers and moisture this week, allowing for only two qualifying rounds to be completed on Saturday, the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car first disposed of Scott Kalitta in the favored left lane with a 4.841-second elapsed time at 321.50 mph to Kalitta's 5.645/179.16 by a margin of victory of .8187 of a second.

Without lane choice, Scelzi then faced No. 1 qualifier Mike Ashley in the second round from the right lane. Both drivers took off with nearly identical reaction times (.073 for Ashley, .080 for Scelzi). A loss of traction near the end of the quarter-mile, however, forced Scelzi to slow to a 5.189/233.44, while Ashley cruised to a 4.890/318.17 victory, by .3066 of a second.

'It's a one-lane race track," said Scelzi, the winningest NHRA pro driver at Gateway (three in Top Fuel, one in Funny Car). "Not having lane choice was critical. But the Mopar/Oakley Dodge made it to the transition before it started spinning the tires and Mike Ashley started driving away and I clicked it off. No sense in tearing up a bunch of equipment for getting your ass handed to you.

"But we did good. We got through the trouble zone. We didn't smoke the tires early. When you come to a one-lane race track you have to have lane choice and Mike Ashley's been running really well lately. So, we'll go to Bristol and hope it's not a one-lane race track.

"I know they just did new concrete there, took some of the bumps out, so maybe we'll have something to shoot at. I know we can run with them."

Scelzi is now tied for fourth place in the Funny Car rankings with Mike Ashley, who was eliminated in the semifinal round. Both have 385 points, 19 markers out of third (Tony Pedregon).

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Gary Scelzi , Scott Kalitta , Mike Ashley