Topeka: Gary Scelzi Saturday summary

With engine change, Scelzi No. 8 in Topeka qualifying TOPEKA, Kan. (May 29, 2004) - Gary Scelzi's HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car experienced engine problems today in the third qualifying session, resulting in an an engine change and...

With engine change, Scelzi No. 8 in Topeka qualifying

TOPEKA, Kan. (May 29, 2004) - Gary Scelzi's HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car experienced engine problems today in the third qualifying session, resulting in an an engine change and a move into No. 8 in final qualifying for the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

In today's third qualifying session, Scelzi's 5.070/286.92 lap sent a message to crew chief Mike Neff and the team that something wasn't quite right with the car's performance. A quick engine change, spurred on by Neff and teammate Whit Bazemore's crew chief Lee Beard, brought them up to the line for the final session just in time for Scelzi to post his quickest pass of the weekend in the heat of the day of 4.837 seconds at 316.75 mph.

"We went up to the starting line and the motor just didn't sound right when we pulled up for our third qualifying session," said Scelzi. "We did the burnout and it just seemed like it was down on power.

"So we came back, serviced the car, went up to start the car for our normal routine to warm it up and it sounded terrible. The motor was idling high, like a fuel pump had a problem, or some fuel system valve was sticking.

"We changed the engine in about 24 minutes and we were back to the starting line for the final round. As soon as we started it, it sounded like the normal motor. I did the burnout, I got on the radio and I told the guys that we've got a race car. And, bam, up pops the 4.837-second ET, which was the third quickest of the round.

"We're right on track now,"he added. "We think we have everything in order to go play on Sunday and I feel pretty good about it. I will sleep well tonight."

Scelzi, who holds the national top-speed record of 330.55 mph, will face Gary Densham in the first round of eliminations tomorrow, which begin at 11 a.m.

-dsr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Mike Neff