Giovanni Scelzi Named Chili Bowl Rookie of the Year After Being Awarded 2017 North American 410 Sprint Car Rookie of the Year
Inside Line Promotions – TULSA, Okla. (Jan. 16, 2018) – Giovanni Scelzi had a breakout performance on one of the biggest stages in motor sports last week.
Scelzi, who was piloting a NOS Energy Drink sponsored midget for Clauson-Marshall Racing during the 32nd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals inside the River Spirit Expo Center, earned the coveted Rookie of the Year Award as he advanced into the A Main – a feat only 24 out of nearly 350 competitors accomplished.
“I didn’t feel like I was up to speed on Monday during practice, but I felt like I got a lot better on my prelim night,” he said. “The more I raced, the better I got.”
The event began on Tuesday for Scelzi, who finished second in his heat race after starting on the pole. That garnered enough points to catch the inversion of a qualifier, in which he again started on the pole. This time he scored the victory and his combined points total locked him into the 12 th starting position for the main event.
“In the heat I was next to Brad (Sweet),” he said. “He got the jump on me and I didn’t have enough room to slide him.
“In the qualifier I knew I had to win to get in the show. We got the jump and I felt more comfortable there.”
Scelzi battled for a top 10 for most of the 25-lap A Main, but it was a late-race restart that ignited him to record a sixth-place finish – his best-ever result in three midget starts. Here is a link to watch the main event: https://youtu.be/oP1ptS6-IAA.
“I stayed on the top too long and fell back to around 15th,” he said. “We moved to the bottom. Once the top came back in with about 10 laps to go I moved back up there. I got moving on the cushion and started sliding guys. Once I started moving I was trying to get more and more. I was pleased with our finish.”
Once preliminary points were tabulated Scelzi lined up fifth in a 20-lap B Main that transferred the top six to Saturday’s main event. He methodically charged to a runner-up result to lock into the A Main.
“It was weird making it out of a B Main being an accomplishment,” he said. “I knew I had to get out of the fifth or sixth area where I started because it’d be hectic. I jumped right into third place. I moved to the cushion and got up to second. I was within five or six car lengths of the leader and just rode there because I knew I was in a good spot.”
Scelzi lined up on the outside of the eighth row for the 55-lap main event and he quickly moved forward. Scelzi was racing for 10th place a handful of laps into the race when a mechanical problem ended the event early.
“That was unfortunate, but I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to compete with a top-notch team in the Chili Bowl,” he said. “I want to thank Tim Clauson, Richard and Jennifer Marshall, and the entire Clauson-Marshall Racing once again for the tremendous opportunity and support.”
Here is a link to watch the feature: https://youtu.be/QDb36quZEPo.
On top of the stout performance during the marquee event, Scelzi received more great news as he was honored as the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll Rookie of the Year by a voting panel of media members, promoters, sanctioning officials and manufacturers.
“Winning the 360 deal last year was big for me,” he said. “My brother, Dominic, won the 410 award a few years ago and now that we’ve both won that award it is pretty special.”