Bazemore, Schumacher sign long-term contract

Bazemore inks multi-year agreement with Don Schumacher Racing INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 18, 2004) - Whit Bazemore announced today that he has signed a multi-year agreement with Don Schumacher Racing to drive the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus...

Bazemore inks multi-year agreement with Don Schumacher Racing

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 18, 2004) - Whit Bazemore announced today that he has signed a multi-year agreement with Don Schumacher Racing to drive the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car in 2004 and beyond in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Bazemore, runner-up in the 2001 and 2003 NHRA Funny Car championships, joined Don Schumacher Racing in 2001, and since then has amassed eight wins in 18 final rounds of his career total of 15 in 36 final rounds. Bazemore's crowning achievement with the Schumacher Racing team came just last year, where he led the Funny Car point standings for the first time in his career, took the battle for the title to the penultimate race, and finished ahead of 12-time Funny Car champion John Force in the standings.

"This is my fourth year with Schumacher Racing and actually the first time I have a contract with Don," said Bazemore, 40, of Indianapolis. "The team has come a long way and has been competitive from the very first year. Part of being a good race car driver is putting yourself with the team that enables you to best accomplish your goals. I think that's what I've done here with Schumacher Racing and with Matco Tools.

"Having a multi-year contract shows the confidence and the support that I have earned within the team and with Don," he continued. "It's a big vote of confidence. It means a lot. It takes off a little bit of stress. I've never in my entire career had a multi-year agreement with anybody. When I had my own team all of my sponsorships were year to year. Having a multi-year agreement is going to be enable my wife Michelle and me to better plan our future."

Team owner Don Schumacher concurs. "I feel it's important to the whole team and my whole organization that we all feel that we have long-term commitments to each other to go out and perform and know that we're all committed and behind the other one," he said. "It's very rewarding to have multi-year agreements in place. It eliminates any of the unknowns for all parties, crew people, crew chiefs, drivers, owners and sponsors.

"Whit has been with me for three years and we have developed a closer relationship and a better relationship as the time progressed," added Schumacher, who became a multi-team owner in 2001, and currently owns two Funny Car teams, one Top Fuel Dragster and two Pro Stock Bike teams. "We were two unknowns reading each other and two pretty strong personalities that had different ways of doing things at times. I think both of us have grown together tremendously and are both looking for the one goal that we are working very hard towards."

The 23-event 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series begins this weekend at the K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, Feb. 19-22.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , John Force , Don Schumacher