Defending event champ Scelzi likes his chances

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Following his solid run to the semifinal round in Topeka, Kan., last Sunday, four-time NHRA titlist and defending Funny Car champion at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals Gary Scelzi is pumped. He's ready for more and he's eyeing another winner's trophy this weekend.

Scelzi has three victories at this facility popular among the professional drag racers and he's the only one to have won national events at Route 66 Raceway in both Top Fuel (2000) and in Funny Car (2005 and 2007). He was also the first Funny Car driver to break the 330-mph barrier, and he did it at Route 66 Raceway in 2004 when he posted a blistering 330.15-mph run.

"I'm liking my chances again this year," said the Fresno, Calif., native, who drives the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, whose team owner calls Chicago home. "The Mopar/Oakley Dodge I think has turned the corner. Route 66 Raceway is one of the best places we go to for racing surfaces, so both lanes are equal just like they were in Topeka. So that's a big thing. You don't want to go to a race track and if you lose lane choice you know that you don't have a prayer.

"Route 66 is one of my favorites. And it's not a Bruton Smith-owned race track, so that's even a bigger surprise. We're just 30 points out of the top 10 and we're looking for a good result so we can jump up there and continue working our way towards a spot in the Countdown to the Championship (which begins after the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend for the top 10 in points).

"Let's go, Chicago! It's Don Schumacher's hometown. There will be a ton of Schumacher fans and friends and family, so we'll go put on a good show for them."

*Note: Courtesy of Don Schumacher Racing

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