Denver: Whit Bazemore final report

BAZEMORE REACHES FIRST TOP FUEL FINAL AT DENVER MORRISON, Colo. (July 15, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore has long known his Matco Tools Top Fuel team is a championship-caliber race team. Sunday at Bandimere Speedway, Bazemore and the Matco boys raced to...

BAZEMORE REACHES FIRST TOP FUEL FINAL AT DENVER

MORRISON, Colo. (July 15, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore has long known his Matco Tools Top Fuel team is a championship-caliber race team. Sunday at Bandimere Speedway, Bazemore and the Matco boys raced to their first final round of the season. The 20-time NHRA winner now ranks seventh in the Top Fuel standings.

Following a challenging four qualifying attempts at the mile-high track, Bazemore started from the No. 9 position after clocking a qualifying-best run of 4.662 seconds on Saturday afternoon. The recently relocated Oregonian bested No. 8 qualifier Bob Vandergriff, Jr., Utah-runner Mike Strasburg, and four-time series champion Tony Schumacher, before being edged by teammate Rod Fuller in the final round.

As the first pair of racers to face the hot Bandimere Speedway quarter mile on Sunday, Bazemore sped to a time of 4.858 seconds at 256.60 mph to earn the win light in the left lane. Vandergriff got the jump at the start, but his dragster lost traction and slowed to a pass of 5.287 seconds.

Bazemore earned his fourth trip to the semifinals this season when Strasburg fouled at the start. Bazemore's Matco Tools rail lost traction mid-track and coasted to a pass of 7.396 at 106.21 to score the win in the right lane.

The veteran racer advanced to his first career Top Fuel final round by knocking off Schumacher in the semifinals. They met two races ago in Norwalk, Ohio when Schumacher got the win. This time, Bazemore edged the Alan Johnson-tuned rail at the finish line with a run of 4.771 at 295.01. Schumacher clocked a pass of 4.806 at 316.38. The win matched both David Powers-owned dragsters in the final round for the first time in 2007.

In the final round, Bazemore used a solid reaction time to race the Matco-backed rail to the early lead over his teammate. He drove his Lee Beard-tuned rail to its quickest pass of the day, 4.770 at 308.35, but it wasn't enough to overcome Fuller's 4.683 at 312.93, which was the quickest pass of the day.

"We made a lot of progress in the points," Bazemore said. "We had a good result with a car that really wasn't the class of the field, so that's good. When you have a good result when you're struggling, that's a good thing. I think the team really proved themselves this weekend. They're the best and they really rose to the occasion and that makes me excited to be associated with a team like that. It was a great result for the (David) Powers organization and Rob Flynn has done outstanding. Are we tired of being outrun by our teammate, yeah we are, but they're the class of the field and they deserve the success they're having this year."

-credit: dpm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Tony Schumacher , Bob Vandergriff , Rod Fuller