After struggling in qualifying, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team knew they had their work cut of for them in Sunday's final eliminations of the AutoZone Winternationals in Pomona, California. With only...
After struggling in qualifying, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team knew they had their work cut of for them in Sunday's final eliminations of the AutoZone Winternationals in Pomona, California. With only one full power pass under their belt, the Etchells crew was challenged to find the right set-up. In the first round, Bazemore used a solid 5.052-second pass to edge Phil Burkhart by four thousandths of a second. This paired him against the number 2 qualifier, Jerry Tolliver, with the advantage of lane choice going to Bazemore's opponent.
In what would be one of the closest races of the day, Bazemore powered down the track with his best run of the weekend at 4.962 seconds with a top speed of 309.98 mph. However, it was not enough to prevent Tolliver from gaining the victory with 4.950-second pass of his own.
"It's frustrating to lose such a close race. You live by the sword, and sometimes you die by the same sword, which is what happened today. But I don't want to take away from the Etchells crew's effort. The team did an outstanding job today making the seventy-five minute deadline between rounds. It was really unbelievable - they changed complete motors in about ten minutes.
"But I was even more impressed by how we stepped up our on-track performance. It was no secret that we were plenty frustrated after qualifying. The way we saw it, today was going to be an unknown day. After gaining a close victory in the first round, the General (crew chief Tim Richards) worked his magic. He got the Kendall Camaro pointed in the right direction in the second round, and we gave those guys a heck of a fight. They had been the pacesetters for most of the weekend, and we were able to step up on very short notice and stay right with them. Even though we lost, I feel pretty good about what we did today."