Denver: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

Bazemore Collects his Third No. 1 of The Year, 27th Career, in Denver MORRISON, Colo. (July 17, 2004) - Following a wash-out on Friday, as rain cancelled the first two rounds of qualifying for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Whit Bazemore ...

Bazemore Collects his Third No. 1 of The Year, 27th Career, in Denver

MORRISON, Colo. (July 17, 2004) - Following a wash-out on Friday, as rain cancelled the first two rounds of qualifying for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Whit Bazemore blazed down the quarter-mile to his third No. 1 Funny Car qualifying position of the year, the 27th of his career, following just two qualifying rounds.

Driving the Lee Beard-tuned Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus to a 4.842-second lap at 312.50 mph, Bazemore became the first driver to break the 4.80-second mark at Bandimere Speedway. He is also the driver who recorded the first four-second Funny Car pass ever made at the Denver facility, in 2000.

The two-time winner here (1997 and 2000) initially posted a track-record-breaking pass in the first session of 4.897 seconds at 311.92 mph, then clocked an ever quicker pass in the final round of 4.842 seconds at 312.50 mph.

The concerns the team had over the performance of the new Goodyear tire and the mandated tire pressures were not an issue, he said. "The tire is working well here, and after the next couple of races we may decide to come back and race here 23 times next year.

"So far it's good," he added. "It's a very tricky race track, especially now. It always has been. It's very challenging. The altitude always presents a problem with making horsepower and making downforce and now with a shortened qualifying session and a new tire (it was even more challenging.) The tire is really important to the performance of the race car. It can either really help us or really make life difficult. In this case, on our car, at least, it seems to be working really well here.

"And so we have to thank Goodyear for making the move and building a tire that performs the way they want it to."

There was only a slight threat of rain today and temperatures were comfortable under a cloudy sky. "We were blessed with overcast today," said Bazemore. "Tomorrow, if it's a hot sunny day, it's going to be a whole different ballgame. And we know that. But this Matco Tools team knows what to do and one of Lee Beard's strong points as a crew chief is that he's able to adjust the car for conditions as good as or better than anyone else out here. We're in good hands."

Bazemore will face series newcomer Robert Schwab in the first round of final eliminations, which begin at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore