Commerce: Whit Bazemore eliminations summary

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 4, 2003) -- In his sixth straight semifinal-round appearance in seven events, Whit Bazemore did his job at the starting line in his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car. He blasted off first against the man he's ...

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 4, 2003) -- In his sixth straight semifinal-round appearance in seven events, Whit Bazemore did his job at the starting line in his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car. He blasted off first against the man he's aiming to knock out of first place in the point standings, Tony Pedregon. Bazemore's reaction time was a quick .058 versus Pedregon's .064, but when the tires on the Matco Tools Iron Eagle went up in smoke at the hit of the throttle, so did Bazemore's chances to make it to his third final round of the year.

The defending Atlanta Funny Car champion pedaled it several times to try to reach the finish line before Pedregon, who was doing his own pedaling dance to get to the stripe. Unfortunately, Pedregon had to pedal less and took the win with a 5.102/275.96 pass to Bazemore's 7.114/167.53.

Bazemore continues to hold on to second place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car standings with 551 points, 108 behind Tony Pedregon, who won today's event.

"We smoked the tires from the hit of the throttle," Bazemore said. "If God's smiling on you, you can run a 5.80 when it does that. If not, you're just going to struggle to hook it back up. We finally got it hooked back up, but you can't win races like that.

"We're not really satisfied just going to the semifinals anymore," he commented. "It's a tough loss because basically they gave it to us and we couldn't take advantage of it. If they went out and ran .70 in the heat it would be, 'OK hat's off (to you) and it wasn't our destiny.' Lee Beard (crew chief) and I and Don (Schumacher, team owner) just had a good conversation. We're going to address that part of the race track (60-foot mark) with our Matco Tools Dodge, and we think the changes we make will help our 60-foot time and hopefully our reaction times as well and make the car a little more consistent there and less prone to smoking the tires like we've done a few times lately right at that point in the race track."

Bazemore congratulated his rival Pedregon and his crew chief John Medlen at the top end of the track. "It's no different than anyone else. When you're battling for championships you have respect for the people you're battling with," Bazemore remarked.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , John Medlen