Las Vegas II: Pontiac Racing Friday qualifying recap

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 26, 2001 - Whit Bazemore's Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird continued on its torrid pace taking the provisional Funny Car pole today at the ACDelco NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 38-year-old Indianapolis resident...

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 26, 2001 - Whit Bazemore's Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird continued on its torrid pace taking the provisional Funny Car pole today at the ACDelco NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 38-year-old Indianapolis resident set both ends of the track record during the evening qualifying session with a run of 4.748 seconds at 323.04 mph. "We knew the track surface was good tonight," said Bazemore. "Since we're at a higher altitude here, the question we had to answer was whether we could produce enough horsepower to overcome the lighter air. We're at 3000 feet and there's less oxygen than say when we raced at Reading, Pa., three weeks ago. Our ability to turn the big number is a credit to this entire Matco Tools Pontiac team - Lee Beard, Mike Neff, Don Schumacher and all the crew members." Bazemore, who was top qualifier last weekend at the O'Reilly Nationals in Dallas, Tex., is shooting for his eighth No. 1 qualifying spot of the season. With three victories on the year, he is second in the Winston points standings. "It's really important that we maintain our momentum, at the very least, during these last two races," said Bazemore. "Our program isn't perfect and we know we have some weak areas that we have to address over the winter. Hopefully we can do that and it will enable us to run better next year. We know we're going to finish second, so it would be nice to win these last two events and throw down an even more formidable gauntlet heading into '02." John Force is qualified in the No. 2 position, Tim Wilkerson is third in a Pontiac Firebird with a 4.838 e.t. at 316.52 mph, Tony Pedregon is fourth and Dean Skuza is fifth. In Pro Stock, Jim Yates leads the Grand Am attack, qualified in the No. 2 position. The Splitfire/Peak Pontiac driver took advantage of the cool evening temperatures to post a 6.955 elapsed time at 197.68 mph. Bruce Allen is qualified third in the Speedco Truck Lube Pontiac Grand Am with an elapsed time of 6.963 seconds at 197.62 mph. "I'm extremely excited about the way this Splitfire Pontiac Grand Am is running," said Yates. "This car is one of the fastest out here and it's very exciting when you have a hot rod that's this quick. We left a little on the table because we were trying some different things with the carburetors. We changed the tune up a little bit and that hurt us from the eighth mile to the finish line. We were eight thousandths ahead of Mike (Edwards) at the eighth and we were nine thousandths behind him at the finish line. "The key is to be fast on Sunday so that's what we'll work on tomorrow. We'll work on engine tune up, change the jets around a little and work on reaction times. We have a real fast car, we just need a little luck on Sunday and do the job driving to win the race." Mike Edwards is the lead qualifier in a Chevy Cavalier with an elapsed time of 6.954 seconds and a track-record top speed of 198.41 mph. Tom Hammonds is fourth in a Cavalier and Mark Pawuk is qualified fifth in the Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am. Tom Martino is qualified sixth, hometown favorite George Marnell is eighth, Kenny Koretsky is 12th and Rickie Smith is 15th, all in Pontiac Grand Ams. ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying highlights on Saturday, Oct. 27, beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern. Early-round coverage of final eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, Oct. 28, starting at 2 p.m. Eastern, with three hours of final-round coverage beginning at 7 p.m.

-Pontiac Racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Bruce Allen , Kenny Koretsky , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , George Marnell , Rickie Smith , Don Schumacher , Mike Edwards , Mike Neff