Gary Scelzi etched his name in the NHRA record books today. The Fresno, Calif., resident officially broke the national speed record with his Oakley backed Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car entry after posting a 328.06 mph pass in his first-round victory over Tim Wilkerson. His 327.98 mph speed during yesterday?s third-round qualifying session made it official. Dodge last held the Funny Car category speed record in 1991, when Jim White traveled the Pomona (Calif.) Raceway quarter mile at 291.82 mph. The run also signified the first ever 328-mph pass in Funny Car history, obliterating the old speed mark of 326.87 mph held by Gary Densham at the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona. Unfortunately for Scelzi and Schumacher Racing, the weekend ended in the second round of competition. He smoked the tires, pedaled the car, but was unable to catch Densham at the stripe. ?It?s not just the speed record that?s big -- we went 328 miles per hour,? Scelzi beamed. ?We ran two miles per hour better than anyone ever has out there. And that?s just huge. (Aero engineer) Terry DeKoninck and all of the Mopar engineers that have built this Stratus body have given us something we can excel with. We?ve run better than those Fords for a while now, and now it looks like we?re doing it every single race. Now, we just need to get our cars just a little bit quicker. ?We just got caught out with this lane thing,? said Scelzi, talking about the oil dropped on a previous run during the second round. ?We tried to do everything right. We slowed the car down, and added some spoiler to help our positioning. The lanes were junk in that session and everyone smoked the tires. It was beyond our control. I knocked the tires off of it, pedaled it three times. I didn?t do the best job pedaling in my mind, but the crew is happy with me. We?re gaining some momentum, but we?ve got a long ways to go. If we keep running these speeds, and I?ve been around long enough to know that this thing could pop two or three wins out in a row. It?s not a fluke that we set the speed record. Our Hemi is serious with power, and that?s good. You take our power, add a slippery body, and you get results. Unfortunately we?re just not very patient here at Schumacher Racing, and we want it now. We?re going to work through it. We?re going to take a deep breath and go at it again in a couple of weeks.?
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