In a survey conducted by The Racing Report, Gary Scelzi ranked fourth as "The Most Dominant Driver in Motorsports," behind Michael Schumacher (F1), Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) and John Force (NHRA). In fact, since starting his professional drag racing career in 1997, no other driver has been as dominant as Scelzi in the Top Fuel class of NHRA drag racing.
Eight-year-old Giovanni got his first ever double this year, successfully defending his 2009 Lemoore Jr. Sprint title, and winning his first championship in Visalia, California.
Racing out of their weight and age class, Dominic and Giovanni Scelzi dumbfound fans with their inherent talents wherever they race.
We recently caught up with Scelzi for another chat about racing, although not about his career, rather a couple of young up-and-comers extremely near and dear to his heart. Scelzi says he's even more flabbergasted by his and wife, Julieanne's, offspring's than outsiders. He confesses that most times he just gets out of the way and let's them roll. K&N sponsored Dominic and Giovanni are racing prodigies by any yardstick you use to measure them. Taking Scelzi's lead we got out of the way and let him roll.
You've seen Gio do a lot of things on the track, heck we've even written about a few, do you ever get surprised by his pure instincts and determination?
"Both my boys surprise me every weekend, how mature they are, their attention to detail and how they watch the competition. As far as Giovanni, a lot of his ability has to do with watching Dominic, the two always talk back and forth on strategy, and how race tracks change, but for Gio to do what he is doing at eight years old, is natural ability and god given talent. I have watched a lot of young drivers and they just don't seem to have the focus that Gio does. He is like that in school, baseball and anything else he sets out to do. It's not easy for me to say being his father, because all parents brag about their kids, but Gio backs up what I think, and it's not bragging if you can back it up."
A perfect example would be what he did in his last 600 class race. What do other people around the track think about his herculean feats?
"It's funny because some parents refuse to believe that he is as good as he is, but when he jumped in the 600 and won his first time out, beating kids older than him, not only by speed but by out thinking them. Now they are finally giving him the credit he deserves."
"His car may be as fast as the others, but in lap traffic he just outsmarts them. Last weekend we put him in the three-quarter restricted class, which is faster than the five-eighth restricted, and he qualified on the pole and ran fifth on Friday night. Then he started sixth on Saturday night and finished third. Pretty unbelievable, and again it was his first time with the three-quarter restrictors."
How's he feel about winning his first championship too?
"Actually he defended his championship from Lemoore, and won his first championship in Visalia. He finished second there last year. This was the first time he doubled. Gio is a great kid, he enjoys his wins, but is very humble and not as excitable as Dominic or myself when we win."
Talk about Dominic, he's continuing with his winning ways as well.
"Dominic is a great kid. Most of the people he runs against are in their late teens to the middle 20's and early 30's, yet all the competitors race him as an equal. Dom is 13, and as we talked about earlier, no one wants a little kid out running with the adults, so he knew from the start he would have to earn their respect, and he has done a great job doing just that."
"Last year Dominic won a total of 16 races, this year he has won three with several top-fives, which is way more than what we expected. The difficult thing is Dominic is mature beyond his age and he wants to win every race, not in a bad way, but he only thinks racing, and sometimes we have to remind him that there is school work and chores too."
In a recent press release you said "I made a corporate decision to make our car ‘normal'" what did you mean?
"We made some special parts to make Dominic's car faster, and we tried to make them work for about seven races, but they made the car very difficult to drive. Sometimes while trying to go faster your program goes backwards, I learned that in drag racing. We were missing pieces to the puzzle, so I felt we had wasted enough time on those parts, and in return we had instant results. The very next weekend Dominic won a race and he ran second the next night."
What's up next?
"We are going to run one more race, the first of November, and then Thanksgiving weekend Dominic will be running a non-wing race at Plaza Park. We are putting Austin Prock in Gio's car for that race. Austin is the son of Jimmy Prock, Robert Height's crew chief on John Force's funny car. The boys grew up together, and Austin is going to spend a couple of weeks in California, so Gio offered him his car. After that it's paint and prepare the cars for the 2011 season - and man am I ready for that."
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