Dominic Scelzi celebrates his second consecutive NARC championship. (Donna Peter photo)
STOCKTON, Calif. — In Dominic Scelzi’s office, he keeps a daily reminder of the history he’s chasing, one he recently had to adjust after officially clinching his second straight NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Car Series championship.
“On my desk at work I have a list of all the NARC champions who had two or more,” Scelzi told SPEED SPORT. “After Kern (County Raceway Park) last weekend, I crossed a couple guys out, and I went to guys that have three or more. There’s only a handful of those guys.”
Most know Scelzi as the charismatic, taco-loving sprint car driver from California, but fewer may be familiar with his sprint car historian side.
In his spare time, the Fresno, Calif., native browses the sport’s statistics, both from years past and modern day, with a close eye on the numbers in his home state. Ever since refocusing his racing efforts on the “Golden State” at the beginning of 2021, Scelzi has been compiling quite a stat book of his own.
During his back-to-back title efforts, Scelzi has competed in all 42 NARC features and tallied 10 wins, 26 podium finishes and 32 top-five efforts. The 25-year-old also became only the 10th multi-time champion in the series’ 62-year history. His name now resides next to the likes of Brent Kaeding, Tim Green, Jonathan Allard, and a few other legends on the list of those with at least two titles. He’s also the first to stand atop the points in consecutive years since Kyle Hirst in 2013-’14.
The West Coast is one of the strongest sprint car regions in the country and being at the top of the list of talent that routinely competes with NARC is no easy task, a fact Scelzi is firmly aware of and makes him all the more appreciative of what he’s accomplished.
“I don’t take these for granted one bit,” Scelzi said. “It’s extremely hard. There’s a lot of really good guys out here. You go to a NARC race and you honestly have no idea who’s going to win. Between Corey Day, Justin Sanders, when (D.J.) Netto comes around, Tim Kaeding and Bud Kaeding, (Shane) Golobic. There’s a lot of guys that are really, really good. And then on an off weekend you could have a guy like Ryan Timms, Tyler Courtney or Bill Balog, guys that are incredibly talented, roll in and try to steal the money.”
Scelzi credits much of his success to a man who has his own place in the sport’s history, Jimmy Carr. The mechanical mastermind joined forces with Scelzi Motorsports in mid-2020 and serving as the crew chief has been a catalyst in the team’s recent glory.
“Jimmy, he came on board there in 2020, and he changed my entire career,” Scelzi said. “You look at the record books from 2012 to ’19, and you don’t see a whole hell of a lot of success, and he turned us into a race team, and he turned us into an operation that could win night in and night out.”
Scelzi plans to soak in this championship with his crew as much as he can, but admits he’s already hungry for more.
“The boys are coming back for next year,” Scelzi said. “We’re going to enjoy the hell out of this one, but our sights are already set on No. 3 and what it’s going to take.”
Despite the final stat sheets looking similar, Scelzi’s route to the title in 2021 didn’t mirror that of this season. He’s hoping that they can combine the positive elements from each year to become even more of a force in their pursuit of another title.
“When we won it the first year, we won a lot of races,” Scelzi explained. “This year we didn’t win as many but were incredibly consistent and qualified really well. Next year I’d love to qualify well, be consistent every night and win six, seven or eight races. I think it’s something we can do when you look at our amount of podium finishes and seconds.”
A three-peat has only been achieved twice in NARC history, and a mechanical issue robbed him of potentially having just collected his third straight, adding even more motivation heading into 2023.
“We were close in 2019 and had an engine malfunction that cost us the point average that would’ve won us the championship, or else we’d be looking at three in a row,” Scelzi recalled.
There was no NARC season in 2020 because of the pandemic.
The two drivers who’ve won three in a row are Bill Sullivan (1964-’66) and Brent Kaeding, who claimed an astonishing nine straight (1993-’01). Currently, there are only five competitors who own at least a trio of championships. The group includes the two aforementioned along with LeRoy Van Conett, Jonathan Allard and Kyle Hirst, an exclusive club that Scelzi is eager to grow to six members.
If the last two years are any indication, the list on his desk of those he’s chasing might shrink a little more at the end of 2023.
“Come January first it’s time to put the helmet back on and start focusing on that race for three,” Scelzi said.