CONCORD, N.C. — What started as a joke between friends turned into a job offer that has Dominic Scelzi excited for the future.
It was recently revealed that longtime Tony Stewart Racing team manager Jimmy Carr would be departing the TSR operation in order to move to the West Coast. The former Canadian sprint car driver, who has worked at TSR since it was started, will serve as crew chief for Scelzi Motorsports.
“I’ve known Jimmy my entire life, my dad (Gary Scelzi) has known Jimmy since before I was even born,” Dominic Scelzi said. “We’ve been friends with Jimmy forever.”
Scelzi explained that Carr had already decided he wanted to depart Tony Stewart Racing and move to the West Coast when the two sides began joking about Carr working for Scelzi Motorsports.
Before long the joke became a serious conversation and suddenly Carr was the newest employee of Scelzi Motorsports.
“To be honest, I don’t know exactly how it went,” Scelzi said. “He has stuff out in California and he was wanting to move back west. I said, ‘Well, the good thing about California is I’m in California and you can come work for me whenever you want.’ Never in a million years did I think that would equate out to being able to work with him.
“He came out for Morrie Williams’ funeral,” Scelzi explained. “He came to the shop and we gave him a tour, still not with the intention of hiring him or even the talk of it. He sort of made the joke, ‘Do I start Monday? When do I get my keys?’ Then the next day that kind of popped into my dad and I talking and thinking maybe there was an opportunity there.”
A few weeks later the Scelzi clan touched base with Carr again.
“If he was going to leave (TSR), then we’d have him,” Scelzi said. “When he decided to leave, we figured hey, we better pursue this. In all honesty, a serious conversation went from a Monday to a Tuesday. It was a matter of two days that got everything done.”
While Scelzi admits he’s not 100 percent sure what Carr’s duties will be, he knows that whenever he’s driving the Scelzi Motorsports No. 41s, Carr will be his crew chief.
“It’s too early to tell. I know he’s going to solely be the crew chief for the No. 41s,” Scelzi said. “There is a possibility my brother (Gio Scelzi) may run a race or two depending on what his schedule looks like next year, so Jimmy would also crew chief that. I’m not really certain what our plan is or where he falls into it. He’s obviously going to be the crew chief.
“More or less I think he’s going to do it like he did at TSR. He was such a pivotal part of making TSR what it was with the organization, with the cleanliness, everything like that. He’s going to run the show.”
Scelzi said prior to hiring Carr, he was considering a 2020 schedule that included approximately 70 races. However, with Carr wanting to slow down, Scelzi doesn’t expect to run nearly that many races.
“Before we hired Jimmy there were talks about maybe running a 70-race schedule and running really hard. Obviously with hiring Jimmy that isn’t in the cards,” Scelzi said.
On top of that, Scelzi doesn’t yet know if he’ll return to driving for Roth Motorsports, for whom he ran the full King of the West by NARC Fujitsu Sprint Car Series schedule this year. He’d like to return to the team’s No. 83 on the NARC tour, but that deal isn’t done just yet.
“I’ve talked with Todd Ventura and I’ve talked with Dennis and Teresa (Roth). The door is open,” Scelzi said. “I would love nothing more to still be a part of the No. 83 team. Roth Motorsports has been great to me. We won a lot of races. We were really fast this year and I think we have unfinished business with the NARC series.”
Scelzi said the addition of Carr to the team isn’t a short-term hire. If he has his say, Scelzi will work with Carr for the remainder of his sprint car racing career, however long that turns out to be.
“I’m looking to end my career with Jimmy. In 15 or 20 years when I hang the helmet up, I want it to be with Jimmy Carr. It’s something I’m really looking forward to,” Scelzi said.