BAZEMORE ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND AT MOPAR MILE-HIGH NATIONALS MORRISON, Colo. (July 17, 2005) - No. 2 qualifier Whit Bazemore advanced to the second round of eliminations today at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway under the...
BAZEMORE ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND AT MOPAR MILE-HIGH NATIONALS
MORRISON, Colo. (July 17, 2005) - No. 2 qualifier Whit Bazemore advanced to the second round of eliminations today at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway under the heat of the Colorado sun, and the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car team, which changed tuners two races ago, is encouraged by the progress that's been made.
Bazemore was looking strong following his first-round win against Bob Gilbertson in the dry but hot conditions. He took off at the starting light with an outstanding .058 reaction time to Bob Gilbertson's .081, and despite a slight wobble when the tires hazed, Bazemore took the victory with a 5.164-second ET at 284.03 mph. Gilbertson lost traction and posted a slower and losing 5.484/206.73.
Track and atmospheric conditions changed in the second round as the temperature rose. Bazemore's opponent Tim Wilkerson launched with a slow .148 light to Bazemore's .072. Both cars smoked the tires, but it was Wilkerson who recovered first and drove to the finish line with a winning 5.195/268.06 to Bazemore's 5.759/245.09.
"We have a really good race car and it's making a lot of power," said Bazemore, a two-time winner here. "We just haven't been able to back it down far enough yet. It's an animal. Based on the first round, there's just no reason to believe that it wouldn't have gone down the race track (in the second round). The track was a little worse, we knew that. The air was worse. (Crew chiefs) Dan (Olson) and Todd (Okuhara) and the Matco Tools team made very significant changes in it.
"So, it smoked the tires. We just have to mellow it out a little bit and I think when we do that and the car goes down the track it's going to run really well, without really trying hard, which is kind of like what it did Friday (in qualifying). We weren't trying to rotate the earth and we ended up No. 2 with two runs that weren't really perfect yet.
"It's a time thing. The guys need more time. They're getting more experience with the car and the tune-up, figuring out what it likes, what it doesn't like. A couple of races ago we started over, so I think, with that thought in mind, we're not really in a bad place, so we're very optimistic."
Bazemore remains in seventh place in the POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings, with 689 points. He's just six points short of sixth place and 42 out of fifth.