After qualifying second with a career-best 4.837 E.T. and an impressive top speed of 313.51 mph, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team were confident heading into Sunday's final eliminations of the Mac Tools...
After qualifying second with a career-best 4.837 E.T. and an impressive top speed of 313.51 mph, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team were confident heading into Sunday's final eliminations of the Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. However, before they could entertain thoughts of winning, they first had to deal with their first round opponent, Kenny Sayers. Despite his underdog status, the Etchells crew knew they would have to be on their game to advance, as the Houston native had defeated Bazemore under similar circumstances last year.
Unfortunately, Bazemore was unable to duplicate his qualifying performance, slowing to an elapsed time of 5.129 seconds with a top speed of 286.80 mph, which did not prove to be enough to gain him the win.
"It's hard to describe the disappointment the entire Etchells crew feels right now. It's just a part of racing to get in a slump like we are. What adds to our frustration is that our Kendall/Matco Camaro is fully capable of performing at the highest level, as we saw on Friday. In addition, we were able to make repeated strong runs in our last test session two weeks ago. But today, it dropped a cylinder early in the run, and it cost us. It seems that under the new rules (limiting the maximum percentage of nitromethane to 90%), losing a cylinder affects the car a lot more than it did in the past.
"Even though we lost to someone that was seen as an underdog, if they made this field, they are still a good team. Our racing is very competitive, and quite frankly, we're struggling. When you're in that situation, you're going to have a hard time winning.
"One thing that today's results will do is to further strengthen this team's resolve to turn things around. This bunch is more determined than any crew I have ever worked with. I have no doubt that we will get back on track in the immediate future. We're too good not to."