It wasn't that long ago Gary Scelzi ruled the dragstrip as one of the most feared and respected NHRA Top Fuel drag racers of all time. Getting and staying on top was tough, but generally things were in Gary's hands, with him in control. These days he's long made peace with being recognized as Dominic and Giovanni's dad and that's great. Watching his genetically race-blessed sons redefine what young racers are capable of each time they hit the track is great. However, when things go amuck, as they will in racing, and Gary the dad can only watch, that's not so great, and a heck of a lot harder to deal with than anything he faced as a racer.
After a recent mishap of his own, Giovanni was able to shake it off, and go on to again set fast time, and to win the feature going away.
It's been a while, how have Dominic and Giovanni been doing? Let's start with the micros back in April at Plaza Park.
"The micro racing has been going well. Dominic has one win in the Super 600 class, but recently there has been a shortage of cars, so last weekend Dominic decided to run the non-wing class, which had over 20 cars in the class. Dominic qualified 4th on Saturday, and won the feature, and then came back on Sunday qualifying 2nd and won the feature again."
"Giovanni, on the other hand, had to sit out three races due to a concussion he received while swimming at a friend's house. Gio's race season has been incredible except for the concussion. He has set fast time at every race this year except for one, and his worst finish has been 2nd place. Last weekend he set fast time and was leading the main event comfortably when a lap car turned right in front of him, which sent Gio flipping through the air destroying the car. Fortunately, we have all the best safety equipment you can have, Hans Device, Hooker Safety belts, Simpson helmet, and Sparco Fire suit."
After clinching the 2011 ROY and Restricted 600 Class Champion at Lemoore Raceway, there's no sign of let-down in Giovanni driving this season.
"Gio was shaken, but not injured. After four hours of sleep, we replaced the rear-end, front-end, steering, top-wing, and steering box on Gio's car, and he went back after them on Sunday. I must admit after a hard crash like that, I was amazed and impressed that Giovanni drove the car just as hard as he did on Saturday night. He again set fast time, and won the feature going away."
How's the set-up going with Dominic's car, also has he spent anymore time in the Sprint Car and how's that going?
"Dominic is not chasing the points this year as we are trying to get him as many 360 sprint car races as possible. Dominic has only raced four races so far in the sprint car, with a 6th place finish, a 8th place finish, a blown motor, and a crash in the other. But, he is tied for fast time and won a heat race. So, all in all, I believe he is ahead of the curve."
At Dominic and Giovanni's age they must be growing and changing every few months, what do you see as the biggest changes in the way they approach racing from previous seasons?
"Giovanni has really matured this year, even at 10 years old he takes his racing seriously and he always seems to have a plan on how he is going to approach each race. I think a lot of his maturity comes from the closeness of his brother Dominic. They always talk about racing and watch other races on You Tube. Dominic, on the other hand, has always lived and breathed racing 24-7 and it's all he thinks about. His dream is to some day run with the World of Outlaws. For me, it is a matter of enjoying my boys and watching them progress. It reminds me when I was young and all I wanted to do was drag race. So all in all it's been fun and right now we are working on getting some more funding to run Dominic more races in the 360 for next year."
K&N News Update: Following this interview Gary and his sons headed to Watsonville, California for a Sprint Car event at Ocean Speedway. In the main event, with 5 laps remaining, Dominic went to the high-side in turns 3 and 4 and in the middle of the turn something broke in the steering sending him into the concrete wall and causing the car to flip several times. "The wreck did not look that bad as Dominic got out of the car and did an interview," remarked Gary, "But as he came back to the trailer and I talked to him, I could tell something was wrong. Dominic complained of a headache, upset stomach and sore back and neck, which prompted us to get him in an ambulance and send him to the hospital. The findings were a concussion, broken nose and a bruised heart, fortunately all will heal within the next couple of weeks. Thank God!"
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