Gainesville: Whit Bazemore preview

Defending Gainesville FC champ Bazemore looks to repeat GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14, 2006) - When Whit Bazemore won his first event of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season in Gainesville last year, he had just become the father of...

Defending Gainesville FC champ Bazemore looks to repeat

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14, 2006) - When Whit Bazemore won his first event of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season in Gainesville last year, he had just become the father of his first child the week before, and he found himself gushing equally, it seemed, over his win and the birth of son Dashiell Aidan.

Most would think that fatherhood would mellow a person. And it might, but it was clear by Bazemore's victory that weekend that he'd reserved his mellowness for the home front and not the quarter-mile.

The driver who will debut the new Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T at this weekend's event went on to win a second title last year and led the point standings, aiming for his first Funny Car crown. Despite the strength of Bazemore's on-track ability and his fierce determination to win, however, the team struggled the rest of the season to finish ninth in the standings.

With new crew chief Brian Corradi on board this season, assisted by Todd Okuhara, the Matco Tools Dodge team is making strides to become a winning team again as they look to repeat this weekend at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals.

"We'd like to repeat, of course," says the two-time U.S. Nationals champion who will compete in his 321st professional NHRA event in Gainesville. He's also aiming for a 320th career round win (and more), as well as a career 20th event victory. "We're in a position with our team where we really have to overcome some things. And I'm just telling it like it is. The facts are the facts.

"We all need to work really hard and try to have a good weekend and that's my goal going in. It's the kind of sport where things change very quickly and we hope that's the case with the Matco Tools Dodge team.

"Gainesville Raceway is a good track. It's one of our favorite tracks. It has a lot of personal meaning for me. We're all going to be on a new tire here. We actually tested fairly well with the new tire in Phoenix, so hopefully the conditions will be such that we'll be able to take what we learned in testing and apply it to the race weekend."

As for being a parent to one-year-old Dashiell, who shares a birthday (March 12) with his dad: "It's just so much fun. He doesn't talk yet, at least in English. He certainly understands a lot of what (wife) Michelle and I tell him, and that's very, very cool. He has a couple of words, like 'cat' and 'dad,' which sound pretty similar, actually. It's just been a hell of an experience. It's cool."

No, Dashiell does not speak a language other than English. "It's just not English to me," explained Bazemore.

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore