CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals
Scelzi goes to semiís
The reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion and defending event champion, driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, first defeated Mike Ashley with a 4.783-second elapsed time at 329.75 mph, then disposed of Tommy Johnson Jr. on a holeshot advantage with a 4.772/303.50.
The semifinal round found him matched up against John Force Racing's Robert Hight in a spectacular side-by-side contest that saw Hight edge out Scelzi by a mere seven inches. Scelzi launched first, with a .070 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Hight's .089. The pair swapped the lead twice down the quarter-mile, but it was Hight first at the finish with a 4.700/330.55 to Scelzi's 4.720/332.10.
In that last pass, Scelzi's rocket ship Charger tuned by Mike "Zippy" Neff earned its 23rd Funny Car top speed since Scelzi joined Don Schumacher Racing in 2003.
"You know what," said Scelzi, "the car's been improving every race and I'm improving every race. Our Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger is ready to win. I think it proved it today.
"No matter what the temperature is in Englishtown (the next event), I think we're good. We ran well in
"It ran 332 mph and it finally ran a .72. The change we made for the semis obviously worked. So, we've just got to keep plugging; it will come.
"We want to run in the 4.60s when we get the opportunity, and our car should run .60s. It's closer, it's better and I think we have a car that is capable of winning right now and we moved up to eighth in points. We've just got to keep climbing that climb."
On that close race against Hight: "You can't see in these cars. I'm not looking who's next to me. If you can see him, you're done. And I never saw the win light all day. So, I didn't know if I missed or not, but the first thing I did was get on the radio and they told me he ran a .70 and we went .72. We just missed."
Scelzi moves up into eighth in the Funny Car point standings and is just 89 points out of fifth place.
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