Baytown: Mopar Motorsports eliminations summary

Bazemore drives to semifinals; Alderman falls in round two. BAYTOWN, Texas (April 13, 2003) -- Whit Bazemore, driver of the Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, advanced to the semifinals of this weekend's 16th annual O'Reilly Spring...

Bazemore drives to semifinals;
Alderman falls in round two.

BAYTOWN, Texas (April 13, 2003) -- Whit Bazemore, driver of the Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, advanced to the semifinals of this weekend's 16th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

The Indiana resident, lost to Tony Pedregron in the semifinals -- as Bazemore logged a 5.088-second elapsed time at 289.07 mph. Pedregon clicked off a 5.019-second pass at 304.39 mph in victory.

"It's disappointing to lose," Bazemore said. "But anytime you go to the semifinals, you can call it a good day. Our Matco Tools Dodge ran well in cooler conditions, but we struggled more in the heat -- just as we have in the past. Our team will work really hard to address those problems. Today, we never once got over the bumps on the track without spinning the tires. It wasn't our day to win. We're making good progress. We're up there in the championship -- where we want to be -- so we're pretty happy with where we are right now."

Bazemore outran teammate Gary Scelzi in round one and Cruz Pedregon in round two. Scelzi talked about his run today in the Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car.

"We've been on a little slump here lately," Scelzi said. "We finally got it turned around last night and got a good baseline. We went after it when we raced Bazemore. We wanted to run a high 4.80 -- and we were well on our way to do that -- but it hit the bumps and upset the car. The tire spin came in and it put cylinders out -- I pedaled it. When I did, it twitched and shook the pin the holds the parachute. So it came out. We were kind of doomed from half track on. We're going to test tomorrow. The balance is good and its drivable. We'll learn some stuff tomorrow. Get everything fixed and we'll hit Bristol full steam ahead."

ALDERMAN STRUGGLES IN SECOND ROUND...

Mopar Pro Stock driver Darrell Alderman lost to Jim Yates in the second round. His Dodge Neon R/T received an engine change after defeating fellow Mopar driver Greg Stanfield in round one, but Alderman's 6.965-second elapsed time at 201.28 mph wasn't enough.

"We shook the tires real hard," Alderman said. "We changed engines in between rounds because were hurts something in round one. I think it really hurt us out there. The lane wasn't as good either."

Ron Krisher defeated Alderman's factory Mopar teammate Allen Johnson in the first round. The Greeneville, Tenn., resident and driver of the new Mopar Part Dodge Stratus R/T ran a 6.832-second elapsed time at 202.37 mph, but Krisher logged a quicker 6.808-second lap at 202.52 mph.

"Lane choice, lane choice, lane choice," Johnson said. "The last two races lane choice has bit us. We got out there in second gear and the car just got to spinning. And it got worse as the run progressed. I think we were one of the quickest cars in that lane. It just got loose. I was a little tardy on the starting line too -- and that didn't help us any. We'll get them at Bristol (Tenn.).

Stanfield drove his DBP Enterprises Dodge Neon R/T to a 6.836-second elapsed time at 202.79 mph. Despite a solid run. Mopar teammate Alderman was able to outrun the Bossier City, La., resident.

"We definitely didn't have the good lane," Stanfield noted. "One thing about it is -- at least a Mopar car is going another round. We've still got a ways to go, but we're working on it. We've still got some problems.

"The left lane has considerably more bumps in it," Stanfield added. "When you got out there in third and fourth gear -- there is nothing there. Once you hit that, you just blow the tires off and pretty much quit. The right lane is not near as bumpy. The lanes change day to day -- especially on race day."

-Mopar.com-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Ron Krisher , Cruz Pedregon , Greg Stanfield