SCELZI BEATS FORCE, IS OUSTED BY TEAMMATE BECKMAN IN TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (June 3, 2007) - Driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi added to his round-win record against...
SCELZI BEATS FORCE, IS OUSTED BY TEAMMATE BECKMAN IN TOPEKA
TOPEKA, Kan. (June 3, 2007) - Driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi added to his round-win record against 14-time Funny Car champion John Force today by defeating him in the opening stanza of the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals. The round-win tally now stands at 12-8 for Scelzi versus Force. Scelzi also leads Force in final-round match-up wins at 3-1.
No. 14 qualifier Scelzi had a solid .045-of-a-second edge on No. 3 qualifier Force at the starting lights (.050 to .095), and it was Scelzi all the way down the quarter-mile, taking the victory with a 4.859-second lap at 318.54 mph, while Force lost traction and coasted to a 8.766/95.47.
His teammate Jack Beckman was Scelzi's next opponent in the second round. He took off first with a .066 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Beckman's .071, but loss of traction at the 330-ft. mark ended Scelzi's day, as he coasted to a 7.772/106.04 finish.
Scelzi now stands alone in fourth position in the Funny Car standings, two points ahead of today's runner-up finisher Jim Head, and 66 points behind winner Mike Ashley in third.
"You know, first round the Mopar/Oakley Dodge was really safe and we slowed it down just a touch, and everything looked good," said Scelzi, who did not have lane choice for either round. "The only thing was there was some bald spots up there and we had to move way to the right side of the groove," he said of the quarterfinal round. "Whether that was part of the problem or not, we don't know. It just got out there and got a little bit fast and then just blew the tires off.
"So, we're not really sure what, why or how. It's pretty tricky. I think the lanes were pretty damn close, though, because Ashley Force had a good pass in that lane (4.856). We'll just have to see what happens in Chicago.
"We were planning on testing a new car after Topeka, but there won't be any testing here on Monday at Heartland Park, so we're going to have to run it the Monday after Chicago now. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this car, it's just that a lot of the new safety features are incorporated in the new car and there are some other changes and we're excited about trying it. We want to make some runs before eliminations, but now we're going to have to run the new car in Englishtown or somewhere else down the road."