BAZEMORE STRUGGLES ON OPENING DAY OF QUALIFYING AT PHOENIX

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2007) -- The great thing about the sport of drag racing is that if a team struggles, there's always another day of racing right around the corner. After the first day of qualifying at the 23rd annual CSK Nationals, Whit Bazemore and the Matco Tools Iron Eagle dragster are on the outside looking in, but the 20-time NHRA winner and his Lee Beard-led race team have two runs on Saturday afternoon to make the 16-car field.

Bazemore's Matco Tools dragster lost traction on both runs on the opening day of qualifying at Firebird International Raceway. Last month, the veteran nitro pilot cross-graded his Funny Car license for eligibility in the Top Fuel category during testing at the Phoenix track. He ran a testing-best run of 4.500-seconds at F.I.R. during testing.

"On the first run, it was too aggressive and it pulled the tires loose," Beard said. "We took some clutch out for the second run and it dropped a cylinder."

Top Fuel qualifying continues on Saturday at 12:30 and 3 p.m. (MT) at the Phoenix-area track. Bazemore qualified his Matco Tools Funny Car in the No. 11 spot last season.

-credit: dpm