Chicago: Etchells Racing/Whit Bazemore tough season is extended

A winning NHRA Funny Car elimination pass is the result of many things working in perfect harmony. The crew must prepare the car to properly handle the amount of traction available under the conditions of the time, making sure that the 6,000 ...

A winning NHRA Funny Car elimination pass is the result of many things working in perfect harmony. The crew must prepare the car to properly handle the amount of traction available under the conditions of the time, making sure that the 6,000 horsepower their engine produces does not overpower the track. The driver also plays an important part, as he first must gain the advantage at the start and then make sure to keep the car under control and in the racing groove. During Sunday's final eliminations of the Prestone Route 66 Nationals, it looked as though Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team had all the necessary ingredients for a first round victory. Bazemore used the quickest reaction time of the round to leave almost three hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent, Dean Skuza, and powered down the Route 66 Raceway quarter-mile. However, just as it seemed he would advance to the second round, Bazemore felt the tires start to shake, forcing him to quickly pedal the throttle in order to maintain traction. Even though he accomplished this in the smallest fraction of a second, the delay was enough to slow him to a 5.068-second elapsed time, which allowed Skuza to make up the difference and drive on for the win.

"I didn't see Dean until I pedaled it. It started to shake pretty hard, so I got on and off the throttle as quickly as I could. You have to give the car what it wants, and at that point it needed to be pedaled. I wanted to stay in it, but after you give it a moment to settle down if you don't react it will break loose and smoke the tires. After that, I saw him out the window the rest of the way not gaining or losing ground. I believe we probably would have won if we didn't have to pedal it.

"This year has just been unbelievable. I've been in this situation before, but never on a team with such high expectations. A couple of years ago when I had my own, smaller, team, we didn't look to win ten races or challenge for the championship. But this Kendall/Matco Camaro team came into this year expecting to win a lot of races. We have the biggest budget this team has ever had, and quite simply, our performance to date has been unacceptable. It's a frustrating situation for everyone involved. Beside ourselves, we have some tremendous sponsors who have invested in Etchells Racing, and we have to start delivering for them as well, and we will. We're going to keep on fighting until we get back to running at the level we belong. We have Columbus in two weeks, and I promise we will be ready."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore