O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
Solid outing leaves Scali third in points
Houston, Sunday: After a respectable semifinal performance at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals from Houston, defending Pro Stock Bike champion Geno Scali ranks third in the POWERade championship points series, only 43 behind leader Andrew Hines.
In Round 1 of eliminations Scali used a stellar .013 reaction-time and a rapid 7.11 at 187 mph to get by cunning veteran Steve Johnson.
"That was our fastest pass of the weekend," Scali said. "I call Steve the jag-master because he always likes to play games on the starting-ling and flicker the stage lights on and off. It's ok. It didn't affect my concentration."
Scali bettered three-time champion Angelle Savioe in Round 2 with another impressive 7.11 at 188 mph to Savoie's 7.28 at 185 mph.
"We tuned the bike up for conditions and made some clutch changes," Scali said. "The bike responded exactly the way we wanted it too."
In the semifinals Scali got out of shape and wasn't able to run down the U.S. Army-backed Suzuki of Antron Brown.
"We got way out of the groove and annihilated the tire. We looked like a Funny Car going down the track," Scali said. "I yanked it back but we just didn't have enough real estate."
During the next few weeks Scali and crew chief Earl DeGlopper hope to put the finishing touches on the team's brand new state-of-the-art Suzuki TL-1000, which they hope to debut at the next race in Atlanta.
"Our priority now is to just get the new bike out and test, test, test," Scali said. "Hopefully it's faster. If it is we'll take it to Atlanta and have some fun."
Scali is content with his standing in the POWERade points series and knows that it's much too long of a season to overanalyze it.
"It's very tight right now," Scali said. "I would have liked to move up, but fortunately we didn't move down either. I feel pretty good."
Scali ready for race day
Houston, Saturday: Utilizing his new motor, defending Pro Stock Bike champion Geno Scali opened day-two of qualifying from the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals with a 7.19 at 187 mph.
"We just took a nice easy lap to baby our new engine," Scali said.
In the final session Scali stepped-up to a 7.17, but failed to better his 7.076 from Friday.
"We need to put our Friday motor back in. These 7-teens feel like a slow Sunday drive compared to the 7-Os," Scali said. "It's going to take a little more time to bring the new motor around. I know that testing at a national event is not the best idea, but since we already had two solid runs, I said why not. We fired up the bike this morning and it sounded really good."
Scali was bumped from second to third in qualifying after Andrew Hines and his Harley V-Rod seized the pole with a 7.072. Scali remained upbeat and welcomes the V-twin challenge.
"I think we've got the power to run with the Harley this weekend," Scali said. "We'd love to get a rematch from Gainesville."
Scali will take on veteran Steve Johnson in round one of eliminations.
"The conditions have pretty much been the same all weekend," Scali said. "So besides the new motor our setup tomorrow will be pretty much the same."
Scali second after two sessions
Houston, Friday: Geno Scali is qualified in the No. 2 spot after Day 1 of the 17th annual NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals, just missing the pole-position by a mere two-thousandths of a second.
In session one, Scali motored his Trim-Tex TL-1000 Suzui to a rapid 7.09 and recorded top-speed of the day at 191 mph.
"We spun really bad off the line," Scali said. "We knew we had to make some changes for the second round."
Scali stepped up to a 7.076 at 189 mph in session-two, just missing Antron Brown's field-pacing 7.074.
"We changed the bike to deal with the high humidity," Scali said. "It was a nice clean run, 1.08 short-time, 2.98 to the eighth. That's about the best we're going to get out of this motor."
With two solid runs already to their credit, Scali and crew chief Earl DeGlopper will switch to their brand new but unfamiliar Vance & Hines motor for Saturday qualifying.
"It's going to be very difficult to improve on Friday because the motor we are putting in is new and I'm not going to step on it too hard," Scali said. "We just want to see what its capabilities are. If we like it we'll leave it in for Sunday, if not we can always use Friday's motor."
Scali optimistic in Houston
Houston, pre-race: Defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike champion Geno Scali is optimistic after putting the finishing touches on his Trim-Tex TL-1000 Suzuki last night for this weekend's O'Reilly Spring Nationals. Scali has added a new Vance & Hines motor to his arsenal of powerplants since his semifinal finish at last month's season-opening Gatornationals from Gainesville, Fla.
"We're going to use last years motor for Friday qualifying and we're going to put the new one for Saturday qualifying, and race whichever one is faster," Scali said. "We're looking for a big weekend performancewise. The weather forecast looks great for making horsepower. We'll probably have a bit of a tailwind which will give the Harley's an advantage, but I think we can be competitive."
Houston Raceway Park is always a little sentimental Scali, who raced the late six-time champion Dave Schultz in his very last final before his untimely death in 1999.
"I'll never forget that one," Scali said. "It was the last race Dave ever won and entered. It's a nice memory."
Team manager Joe Koenig was also optimistic, especially given the new racing surface in Houston.
"We're excited about the new track," Koenig said. "It will be a challenge for everyone to learn it but I am very confident in my guys. We'd really like to come out on top."
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