Bazemore No. 2 in Friday qualifying at Firebird CHANDLER, Ariz. (March 5, 2004) - Whit Bazemore, in the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge, missed the No. 1 qualifying spot on Friday night at Firebird Raceway for the CSK NHRA Nationals by an ...
Bazemore No. 2 in Friday qualifying at Firebird
CHANDLER, Ariz. (March 5, 2004) - Whit Bazemore, in the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge, missed the No. 1 qualifying spot on Friday night at Firebird Raceway for the CSK NHRA Nationals by an eyelash.
By the time Bazemore, in the eighth pair, reached the starting line for this evening's second round of Funny Car qualifying, he had dropped from No. 5 to No. 9. When that pass was completed, he was No. 1 with a stout 4.809-second elapsed time at 322.11 mph.
However, there were two more pairs left to qualify and John Force was right behind. Force posted an equally straight and strong run, just barely knocking Bazemore out of first place with a 4.808/319.82 pass, a measly one-thousandth of a second quicker.
Bazemore was stoic. "We're really happy on one hand and on the other hand we're slightly disappointed," he said. "When you're that close to being low, naturally you want it. But it's good.
"The Matco Tools Dodge is great," he added. "The important thing, aside from the fact that we ran well, is we have made two runs, from A to B, down the race track. My personal feeling is that if you make all the runs and you qualify seventh, then you did great. Because making all the runs lets you fine-tune your race car and it shows that you're consistent. And having the car repeat and having the car respond to Lee's (Beard, crew chief) and Dan's (Olsen, co-crew chief) inputs, along with the job that the team has done, is a good thing. The car has to respond the right way, and making repeated runs down the race track shows that it is.
"When you have a good run and then a handful of aborted runs, you're really not in a strong position to win races. So, this is helping us tremendously."
Extra lighting was added this weekend to the Firebird Raceway quarter-mile, notorious for its lack of light at the finish line, courtesy of NHRA. "We want to thank Chad Head of NHRA for getting some additional lights put in place at the last minute," said Bazemore. "Otherwise it would have been unacceptably difficult and risky to run these cars here at night."
Two more rounds of qualifying are scheduled for Saturday, with final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday.