GIO CASHES IN ON NIGHT #1 OF HANGTOWN 100
By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Placerville, California (November 19, 2019)………It was easy to see the strides Gio Scelzi had made in his recent outings aboard a USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget.
Just last weekend, the Fresno, Calif. native broke into the top-10 for the first time with the series in his fifth start, a ninth-place finish, and admitted that it’s a different kind racing than he’s used to and that it will take time to compete with the best drivers of this discipline.
In his sixth start Tuesday night at California’s Placerville Speedway, Scelzi took a giant step up in his midget game, leading all 30 laps en route to victory on night one of the Elk Grove Ford Hangtown 100 in the series debut at the 1/4-mile dirt oval.
It was just four races ago that Scelzi assumed the seat of the potent Tucker-Boat Motorsports/PristineAuction.com – K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota that had been a front runner on the USAC Midget trail for the past four seasons with Chad Boat at the controls before he stepped out of the seat and into the role of mechanic and car owner.
It appears Scelzi had finally found the comfort zone in a midget, joining Cannon McIntosh, Chris Windom, Jason McDougal and Tanner Carrick to become the fifth first-time USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget winner of 2019, the most in a single season since 2008 when there were six.
Scelzi also became the 14th different series winner of the season, the most in a year since that same 2008 season.
“It’s pretty humbling to run just a handful of these races and win,” Scelzi said. “It’s taken awhile to get comfortable in these cars and I’m still not very comfortable.”
Scelzi is used to being ahead of the curve. At the age of 17, he’s already become the youngest sprint car winner in the history of the World of Outlaws, Williams Grove Speedway and Knoxville Raceway. Two years ago, in 2017, he became the youngest winner in King of the West/NARC history right at Placerville.
Scelzi seemed at home right from the start as he took control from the onset of the feature event from his outside front row starting position. Meanwhile, nearing midway, a two-pack of Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian pilots, Jesse Colwell and eighth-starting Logan Seavey tussled for second as Scelzi held strong up front.
On a lap 14 restart, Seavey was in a hurry to get things done as he hounded Colwell, trying everything in the book to get a run on Colwell to no avail until