FRESNO, Calif. — Dominic Scelzi will have, perhaps, the best opportunity of his career to close out the season and put a bow on his time as a traveling sprint car driver.
Scelzi will step into the seat of the Roth Motorsports No. 83 for the final five World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series races of the season, taking over from Spencer Bayston, who most recently wheeled the Dennis and Teresa Roth-owned sprint car following the departure of Daryn Pittman.
The 23-year-old broke the news during a live edition of the Winged Nation podcast on Tuesday.
Scelzi is coming off a victory at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, Calif., during the Morrie Williams Tribute Race and is relishing the chance to extend his season by a few more weeks.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Scelzi relayed. “Jimmy (Carr, crew chief) and I and my guys are going to go over there and finish the year out. I definitely didn’t see it coming and I don’t think really anyone did, but we’ve had such a great relationship with the Roth family over the years that to run the last five races out there (in the Midwest and East) for them is pretty neat.
“For me, it’s kinda cool because I get to finish off the year going back to the Midwest for a little bit. As everyone knows, next year I’ll be staying in California, so it’s pretty neat to be able to finish the year out with them.”
In a way, the Outlaw opportunity for Scelzi is a chance to rekindle old partnerships, as he’s driven at least one race for the Roth team in each of the last three years — including the full NARC-King of the West Sprint Car Series season in California last year.
“I drove for Dennis and Teresa once in ‘18 and then I drove for them the whole year last year out here. I even drove for them one race this year in Hanford, so the last three years I’ve had at least one night in their car,” Scelzi recalled. “But man, the relationship for our family with the Roths goes back to before I even raced sprint cars. The first laps I ever turned in a sprint car were in an 83 car. Really, they’ve been as big of a part of my career, almost, as my mom and dad. So when the opportunity presented itself Monday morning (to go racing with them), it was a pretty easy decision.”
Scelzi was quick to point out, however, that he’s not looking to take over the touring Roth entry full time next season.
“By no means is this a bid for the ride or anything like that. I’m literally just filling in to help finish the season off for them,” he said. “This is more just like, ‘Hey guys, if you need somebody, I can do it.’
“I’ve known Dennis and Teresa and Todd (Ventura) so long that this is like stepping into my second family car; that’s what they are to me,” Scelzi continued. “It’s a high-pressure situation, because they are an Outlaw team, but at the same time it’s not. We’ll go out, have fun and, hopefully, run well.”
Looking ahead to next year, Scelzi’s plans remain to come off the road and only race locally, while working full time within Scelzi Enterprises — the truck body manufacturing company his family owns and operates on the West Coast.
But while he won’t be on the road anymore — save for a possible trip to Iowa for the 60th Knoxville Nationals — Scelzi said his five races with Roth Motorsports won’t be the end of his career in a sprint car.
“That’s one thing I know for sure, is that I’m by no means done racing,” Scelzi said. “I’d race a million times a year if I could. But I’ll be honest too; I love working here at Scelzi Enterprises. I really enjoy it. From welding dump truck bodies up to buying materials to learning about our scheduling and following my dad around to see all the problems he has to deal with every day … it’s so neat to me that what my uncle and my dad have created, I’m learning to be a part of now.
“Our business is something that is ever changing and it’s ever growing and there’s so much for me to learn here. Being able to have the opportunity to work here and to learn this business is something that I would take as high as being able to run the Outlaw tour. This is a gift, it really is,” he added. “I’m so lucky to be able to be in this position. And I’m at the age where I can keep racing and going and having fun in the Midwest, but I’m looking at my future and what’s best for me and my family. I think that being able to learn this family business and, hopefully, one day being able to be in charge of it, is something that’s going to better me for years to come.
“Who says that in five to 10 years, I won’t be able to go back out there in the Midwest because things will be run the way they need to be run here and I’ll have enough knowledge to where I can go back and forth, but right now it’s just hard for me to go back and forth and take in all the knowledge I need to, so next year we’ll run as much as we can locally and hope that results in a lot of wins for us in the No. 41s.
“But we’re going to relish these next five races, because it really is a cool opportunity and something that’s special to me.”