For first time all season, Bazemore does not advance to second round. MADISON, Ill. (June 29, 2003) - For the first time all season, No. 5 qualifier Whit Bazemore did not advance his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T to the second round,...
For first time all season, Bazemore does not advance to second round.
MADISON, Ill. (June 29, 2003) - For the first time all season, No. 5 qualifier Whit Bazemore did not advance his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T to the second round, losing today to Ron Capps with a tire-smoking 5.220/271.30 to Capps' 5.078/297.35. Despite the 4:30 p.m. start of final eliminations, today's first two rounds were held under the heat of an afternoon sun, with the track temperature hovering around the 136-degree mark.
"It's frustrating and surprising because we made four really good runs in qualifying, two of them in the heat of the day," said the two-time U.S. Nationals champion who remains second in the POWERade Drag Racing Series despite this defeat with 963 points. "The car never showed signs of smoking the tires early at all the entire weekend. We had a tune-up to go down the track today and we knew it was a little hotter, obviously, and the team tuned accordingly. It just wasn't meant to be today."
Crew chief Lee Beard opted to make a lane change to the left side just before the pair lined up for the start. "We ran well in both lanes in qualifying," said Bazemore. "We liked the left lane more than the right. People smoked the tires in both lanes. I think the lanes today were pretty even, actually, so I don't think it was really an issue."
Bazemore lost some more ground to Tony Pedregon in the Funny Car championship, but it's not something he dwells on, he says. "Our goal is to be consistent and to do the best we can every race. We don't get caught up in any championship hoopla. We don't wake up thinking about a championship. We wake up thinking about being the best we can be and trying to win rounds and win races. That's how you win championships, by digging deep and doing your best every day.
"It's not the best result today for our Matco Tools Dodge team, obviously. We'll test between now and the West Coast swing probably quite a bit. We'll go there and hopefully be stronger and better and ready to get back to where we were."