Memphis Etchells Racing Preview

BAZEMORE READY TO MOUNT ANOTHER CHARGE IN MEMPHIS Putnam, Connecticut, October 6, 1999 - As Whit Bazemore headed south for this weekend's Auto Zone Nationals, he took stock of his situation with four races remaining on the 1999 Winston Drag ...

BAZEMORE READY TO MOUNT ANOTHER CHARGE IN MEMPHIS

Putnam, Connecticut, October 6, 1999 - As Whit Bazemore headed south for this weekend's Auto Zone Nationals, he took stock of his situation with four races remaining on the 1999 Winston Drag Racing schedule. Among his liabilities were a 113-point deficit to second place Tony Pedregon and a rapidly diminishing number of opportunities to catch him. However, on the positive side Bazemore is able to counter with an impressive list of assets, including his sleek, 7,000 horsepower Kendall Oil/Superwinch Camaro Z28 Funny Car and the talented Chuck Etchells Racing team which prepares it for competition. In addition, both driver and crew have experienced their share of successes at the upcoming stops on the circuit. It is an equation that Bazemore hopes will add up to a strong finish, starting with their second win of this season at Memphis Motorsports Park this weekend.

"Over the last three races, the consistency that propelled us into those four consecutive final rounds seems to have eluded us," explained Bazemore. "We know the potential is there, as shown by our 4.88 to grab the pole in Topeka on a less-than-perfect pass. It's just up to every member of this Kendall Camaro team to get that type of performance every time down the track."

As always, the Etchells crew will have to deal with a completely new set of conditions upon their arrival in the Volunteer State. The icy cold, traction-robbing temperatures from Topeka should be replaced by a much more temperate and racing-friendly clime in Memphis. However, the crew chief's assignment will be complicated by a refurbished racetrack. With an extra 200 feet of concrete added to starting line and the remaining 790 feet completely resurfaced, the performance characteristics will be completely different from last year's event. Just as happened two years ago when the race date was moved from the summer to the fall, these changes will lessen the value of the tuner's notes from previous passes on the Memphis quarter-mile. In every category, the teams that succeed will be those who best adjust their charges to take advantage of the improvements.

Another factor to consider is that this weekend's race is the second of consecutive contests, reducing the time available to perform normal maintenance. In addition, the crew's schedule was compressed even further by last week's one-day postponement of final eliminations. Teams' parts inventories will also be stretched, as there is not enough time to repair items damaged in Kansas, which in turn could alter an organization's competitive philosophy. Those without sufficient replacements might have to adopt a more conservative approach to stretch what they have. However, as can be expected, Whit Bazemore's attitude for the weekend will show no such restraint, and could be characterized as being in the full attack mode.

"Naturally, our goal will be the same as every other team out here," stated Bazemore. "We are here to do the best we can and try to win. Even with our struggles over the last three races, I wouldn't trade where I am with anybody. This Kendall team has really come together over the course of the season, and we've made some really big strides with our performance. Every one on the crew takes it really hard when we don't do as well as we expect to, so I know they've spent the week working on our car so that we can be consistent

"Memphis is a fun town, and we always enjoy going there. I have a lot of friends there, and the track holds some special memories for me, including the first final round of my career. I know some of our sponsors are coming out to see us, and some of Chuck's wall covering company associates will be stopping by. But we plan to be all business this weekend, as we focus on getting this Kendall Camaro back to where it belongs - the winner's circle."

BAZEMORE BANTER: This will be Whit's tenth appearance at Memphis Motorsports Park, where he looks to improve upon his final round appearance from 1992....Bazemore is looking to score his second win as driver of the Kendall Camaro.....Bazemore is also seeking to reach a career-best sixth final round of the season.....Bazemore continues his dogged pursuit of second place Tony Pedregon.

Fast Facts

WHAT: 12th annual Auto Zone Nationals, the nineteenth event on the 22-race 1999 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Schedule.

WHEN: October 7 - 10, 1999

WHERE: Memphis Motorsports Park, Memphis, Tennessee

SCHEDULE: Pro qualifying sessions start with two sessions on Friday, October 8 at 3:00 & 7:00 p.m., and conclude on Saturday, October 9 with two rounds at 12 noon and 4:00 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 10.

TV: TNN will provide ninety minutes of event highlights on Sunday, October 17 from noon - 1:30 p.m.. (All times Eastern) As always, please check your local listings

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , Chuck Etchells