Seattle: Whit Bazemore final summary

BAZEMORE REACHES SEMIS IN SEATTLE KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2005) - Whit Bazemore appeared to be back on track with a new chassis this weekend and a new spark in the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car team's performance, based on the ...

BAZEMORE REACHES SEMIS IN SEATTLE

KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2005) - Whit Bazemore appeared to be back on track with a new chassis this weekend and a new spark in the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car team's performance, based on the results today at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.

Bazemore, who struggled in qualifying to make it to the 15th spot, advanced to the semifinal round today after first defeating his teammate Gary Scelzi with a 4.907/311.56, then dismissing his old nemesis Tony Pedregon in the second round with a 4.883/313.37.

In the semifinal, the two-time U.S. Nationals champion and winner twice here at Pacific Raceways, met up with the points leader Robert Hight in a match-up that could have helped his teammates Scelzi (third) and Ron Capps (fourth) in the championship chase if Bazemore were to win.

Bazemore's .032 reaction time not only blasted him first off the starting line, but it was the quickest reaction time of eliminations. It didn't help, however, as Bazemore struck the tires early, losing the race with a 10.491/73.36 pass to Hight's winning 4.905/314.83.

"You always assess why you lost a race and why you won a race," said Bazemore. "What's important to the Matco Tools Dodge team is that the team really came together today and showed its potential. And new crew chiefs Todd (Okuhara) and Dan (Olson) did an outstanding job."

"We were faced with real difficulty coming in here today based on our qualifying effort, where we had just one small problem after another affect the race car and our performance. So, really, today was our first chance to run with a car that was competitive and the guys did a great job."

"It's a tribute to the team and, like I said, it shows our potential, and we just have to keep chipping away and working hard, making right decisions and driving the car the best we can. If we do that, we're going to be in a position to rebound and hopefully have a very strong second half of the season."

On the new chassis the team brought out this weekend: "Actually, it's last year's car with a new front end on it, but it's basically a new car," he explained.

"The old car wasn't cursed," he added in response to comments heard in the pits. "There are subtle differences. I don't know about the tune-up, but as a driver you can tell subtle differences. The new car steers a little quicker, and the roll cage is a little bit tighter. Other than that, I think it may have gone straighter when it left. We had some wheelspin (here) that perhaps on the car last week would have caused it to move around a little more than this car would, so it was a good decision to make and it paid off."

Bazemore is now seventh in the POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings, with 760. He's 14 behind winner today Eric Medlen, in sixth, 46 out of fifth, and 229 short of first place.

Next up is the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., July 29-31.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight