Gary Scelzi, crew chief Mike Neff and the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus continue to break and back up national Funny Car speed records, especially when they come to the super-fast and ultra-quick Route 66 Raceway. They did it again this weekend, when Scelzi became the first Funny Car driver to break the 330-mph barrier with a 330.15, then backed it up for a national top-speed record of 330.55 mph. Although his teammate Whit Bazemore ran a faster 333.25 mph in today's semifinal round, he was unable to back it up, so Scelzi was credited with the record following the completion of final eliminations. Scelzi smashed his existing national top-speed record of 329.18 mph, set last year here in the fall. Scelzi, No. 3 qualifier, made a surprisingly early exit today when a possible ignition problem put him out of the running in the first round against Tony Bartone. Scelzi nailed Bartone in reaction time (.100 to .145), then seemed to experience tire shake at the 330-ft. mark, resulting in a slow and losing 7.010/129.44 pass to Bartone's winning 4.825/310.84. "I don't know what happened," said Scelzi. "We had a great car in three qualifying runs, no hint of tire smoke, and it wasn't smoking the tire in this run. But the motor rpm dropped off and the fuel pressure dropped off drastically. When it did, it shook the tire. Obviously, I pedaled it, and it smoked the tire from tire shake. It was out there far enough (on the quarter-mile) where that shouldn't have happened. "So we took the coils off the motor and MSD is checking those right now. I don't know if it was a slide valve or something stuck. The jury is still out right now. But they're on it, they'll find it. We're going to take the fuel system off and put it on the flow bench to find out if something happened. I don't have any answers right now. "I know it wasn't in the clutch, so that's a plus. And we had a good consistent race car. As we've known for a long time, we can swing the bat as hard as anybody. Unleash the HEMI, we said, and we did it. There was more left. We were just going at it slowly. I think we could have bumped the ET record and the mph record even quicker and faster than it is right now. "We'll go to Topeka and we'll be quick and fast again, I'm sure." ***
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Route 66 Raceway
500 Speedway Blvd
Joliet, IL 60433
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