So far this year the win total for Giovanni "Hot Sauce" Scelzi stands at 17 - that's the Jr. Sprint and now Restricted 600 Class combined. That's nearly unfathomable, especially when you consider that Gio won't turn ten until November, and that he tips the scales at a mighty 65 pounds.
A Scelzi racing family portrait - Julianne, Gary, Dominic and Giovanni.
Julianne, Dominic's and Gio's mom, reminds us that Gio's car doesn't have a front wing, where Dominic's does.
"With Gio having 16 wins, he has tied his older brother Dominic's win record of last year, so it is game-on at my house," says Gio and Dominic's dad, AKA NHRA legend Gary Scelzi.
During the last month Gio dominated pretty much every race in the Jr. Sprint Division he entered, so when the teams local Fresno, California tracks went dark for a couple of weeks, the team decided to move up to the Restricted 600 Class.
"With Delta Speedway in Stockton having two back-to-back races, we decided that was the perfect opportunity for Gio to get some practice in with a bigger car. To my surprise, and no one else's, Gio won both heat races and the main event his first time out," said Gary.
"Hot Sauce" Scelzi with his pre-race game face on - any questions?
"We were absolutely amazed that he could hang on for 20 laps with a fifty horsepower, 700 pound car."
Tradition at Delta declares that the winner gets to carry the checkered flag around the race track for a victory lap, however the flag and the car at the same time proved a little too much for Gio to hang onto.
Gio has won a staggering 16 races this year. He has dominated both in Jr. Sprints and now in his first Restricted 600 Division races.
"We all had a good laugh with that one," adds Gary.
Last weekend for the second part of the back-to-back 600 Class races at Delta Speedway, the Gary Scelzi Motorsports team returned to see if Gio could repeat. This time to no one's surprise Gio did it again.
Giovanni says he goes into every race planning to do his best and wanting to win. When he doesn't win, which isn't often, he says he forgets that race as fast as he can and moves on to finding ways to do better in the next race.
Dominic says he goes to every race wanting to win and has a hard time being patient waiting for the wins to come. Dominic feels second is not good enough.
Dominic has had a lot of success at Delta in the past two weeks as well. Two weeks ago Dominic started 11th in the Main Event and finished third. He put on an amazing show in the process as he was one of the only cars to do any passing. Again, remember Dominic is only 13 and he is racing against 16 to 25 year olds with a lot more experience.
Last weekend Dominic won his first heat race, starting from the third row. Then in a ten lap sprint, he finished second in the second heat race, which gave him more passing points than anyone. Dominic started the 30-lap feature on the pole, and lived up to his nickname "The Dominator" leading every lap to the checkered.
"Yes, they compete in everything they do, swimming, racing razors, racing die cast cars, you name it they compete," says Gary. "But they are always very supportive and very protective of each other."
"Fortunately for my wife Julianne and me, both our boys are self motivators. We always tell them that it is okay not to win, and that it's not the end of the world if they don't. But then I also remind them it is a lot more fun to win than it is to lose."
"I also tell them that when they don't win, to try and dissect why you didn't, and work on those areas. I always stress to them when they go out on the race track that they are the best drivers out there, and to believe that no one can beat them. So when they pull on that race track they feel they can take on the world, and most of the time they do. One of the things I am working on with both of the boys is having them learn how to work on the car and on set-ups, so they know exactly what the car feels like, before and after a change. Also, I'm teaching them to understand what every part on the car does - it's just one more tool to separate them from ordinary drivers."
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