Las Vegas: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

BAZEMORE RACES TO CAREER-BEST E.T. EN ROUTE TO NO. 4 SPOT AT VEGAS LAS VEGAS (April 14, 2007) -- Two weeks after earning his 30th career pole, 20-time NHRA winner Whit Bazemore clocked a career-best elapsed time Saturday at The Strip at Las...

BAZEMORE RACES TO CAREER-BEST E.T. EN ROUTE TO NO. 4 SPOT AT VEGAS

LAS VEGAS (April 14, 2007) -- Two weeks after earning his 30th career pole, 20-time NHRA winner Whit Bazemore clocked a career-best elapsed time Saturday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The veteran nitro pilot blasted his Matco Tools dragster to a run of 4.498-seconds to qualify fourth at the spring Las Vegas race.

One day after racing his Lee Beard-tuned Matco Tools rail to a career-best 4.501-second elapsed time, the first-year Top Fuel racer carded the first 4.4-second elapsed time of his career. Entering the day ranked fourth in the 16-car order, Bazemore used a tune-up from his champion crew chief to blister the LVMS quarter mile in 4.498 seconds at 324.90 mph to remain fourth in the order. It is the 23rd time that Bazemore has qualified in the No. 4 position.

"We shut it off a little early," Bazemore said. "We dropped two cylinders on that last run. It would have run a little better. It's a great effort by the team. David (Powers) and Tim Buckley and all the people that support the Matco Tools team are all excited. Lee (Beard) and the guys are doing a tremendous job. Lee feels that I can handle some horsepower so he's finally turning the wick up. We have a car that can win. Basically, it's up to me to get us in the winner's circle. That's the challenge. We have to dig deep and make all those things happen tomorrow.

"The performance of the car is great, but the most important thing is that I'm excited to be here and want to race. That wasn't the case at Houston at the last race. There's too much risk if you don't love it. This weekend proved to me that I still do, and that's the most important thing. Anytime there's a tragedy, it forces you to re-think your commitment."

Bazemore will battle veteran NHRA Top Fuel pilot Cory McClenathan for the third time this season when final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. (PT) on Sunday morning. He is 2-0 on the year versus the 28-time NHRA Top Fuel winner. ESPN2 will air three hours of final eliminations coverage at 7 p.m. (ET) on Sunday evening.

-credit: dpm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Cory McClenathan