Giovanni Scelzi Earns First Career USAC National Midget Victory in Sixth Start With the Series
Inside Line Promotions – BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Nov. 27, 2019) – It didn’t take Giovanni Scelzi very long to ascend to the top level of midget racing.
Scelzi, who has spent the last two years achieving new heights in the winged sprint car division, joined Tucker-Boat Motorsports for the final handful of USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series races this season. The opportunity paid off a week ago Tuesday when Scelzi captured his first career midget triumph in only his sixth start with the series and 11 th career start in a midget.
Scelzi also became only the 17th driver to win a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series event and a USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series race.
“It’s pretty cool to see my name with the drivers who won an Outlaws race and a USAC midget race,” he said. “It’s not just me though. It shows how strong the teams I’ve raced for are and the great equipment I’ve had.”
Scelzi led all 30 laps of the main event during the opening night of the Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway in Placerville, Calif., where he bested 56 other drivers to pick up the triumph.
Scelzi began the night by qualifying fifth quickest before he advanced from seventh to fifth place in a heat race. That relegated him to a Last Chance Qualifier, which he won to start the main event on the outside of the front row.
“There were tons of restarts so it was stressful,” he said. “It’s such a different kind of racing. You have to be against the cushion or on the bottom. You can’t go through the middle. The air is such a difference. You can run right into the back of a guy and it doesn’t affect much. You can run off the bumper and not worry about getting tight and crashing, which is completely different than in a sprint car. That was awesome to be able to transition so quickly to be able to run up front.”
Scelzi continued to run well during the event finale on Wednesday. He maneuvered from eighth to third place in a heat race, giving him the 11 th starting position for the 100-lap A Main.
“I’ve never had a race that long,” he said. “I got to fourth and was riding there. I knew if (Kyle) Larson won I’d need to finish third to win the points. I slid (Christopher) Bell for third with probably 30 laps to go. I got to second for a minute, but I slid off the end of turns three and four and fell back a few spots. I was pushing as hard as I could.”
Scelzi finished the feature seventh and he ended the event ranked second in points to NASCAR star Kyle Larson.
The week wrapped up on Saturday at Bakersfield Speedway, where Scelzi made his midget debut and only his second career appearance during an event that featured more than 50 other drivers. He qualified fourth quickest in his group and placed sixth in a heat race and third in a B Main to score the ninth starting position for the A Main.
“We qualified good, but didn’t make it through the heat when the track was fast and locked down,” he said. “We ran third in the B Main to transfer. We couldn’t get an open lane in the feature. Every time it was bottled up. I felt like we had a top-five car, but the race went quick and we couldn’t get rolling.”
Scelzi capitalized on a late-race restart to gain a position and finish seventh.
He is scheduled to compete this Thursday at Ventura Raceway in Ventura, Calif., during the 79th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix.