Sonoma: Bazemore takes provisional pole

Bazemore's Pontiac Firebird No. 1 Qualifier At Sears Point SONOMA, Calif., August 3, 2001 - Matco Tools Pontiac driver Whit Bazemore drove his Firebird Funny Car to the No. 1 qualifying spot tonight at the 14th annual Fram-Autolite...

Bazemore's Pontiac Firebird No. 1 Qualifier At Sears Point

SONOMA, Calif., August 3, 2001 - Matco Tools Pontiac driver Whit Bazemore drove his Firebird Funny Car to the No. 1 qualifying spot tonight at the 14th annual Fram-Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway.

Bazemore, who is coming off last weekend's NHRA win at Seattle and has been No. 1 qualifier at two of the last three events, set the pace in round one with an elapsed time of 4.956 seconds at 297.75 mph. In round two, Bazemore's nitro-powered Pontiac Firebird took the top qualifying spot with a 4.883 second run at 301.87 mph. Bazemore is currently second in the Winston points standings.

"We were surprised that more cars weren't running in the fours," said Bazemore. "When Dean (Skuza) ran his 4.94 in front of us that told us that the right lane would hold it. I knew what kind of tune up Lee (Beard) had in our Matco Tools Pontiac and I thought we had a pretty good chance of going to the front. The car had the front end up at halftrack and I knew then that it was on a good pass. It was a good run all the way around.

"We're just trying to do our job and achieve our own goals, and that is to perform the best we can every time, and try to win as many rounds and as many races as we can. We've had a good car all year, but we won our first race just last week. On the one hand we've had a good year but on the other hand we're still behind where we want to be."

Dean Skuza is qualified in the No. 2 position, John Force is third, Bruce Sarver is fourth in a Firebird and Tommy Johnson Jr. is fifth in a Camaro. Bob Gilbertson is qualified sixth, Johnny Gray is seventh, Del Worsham is eighth, Jerry Toliver is ninth, Frank Pedregon is 10th, Scotty Cannon is 11th and Al Hofmann is 12th, all in Pontiac Firebirds.

In Pro Stock, Warren Johnson had the quickest Grand Am of the day and qualified in the No. 2 position with a 6.882 elapsed time at 199.73 mph. Jeg Coughlin Jr. took the No. 1 spot in a Cavalier with a track-record elapsed time of 6.880 seconds at 199.14 mph. Kurt Johnson is third in a Cavalier, Bruce Allen is fourth in a Grand Am and Mark Osborne is fifth. Jim Yates is qualified sixth, Mark Pawuk is ninth, George Marnell is 11th and Brad Jeter is 13th, all in Grand Ams.

The Fram-Autolite Nationals is the 16th race on the 24-event NHRA Winston Drag Racing tour. ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying highlights on Saturday, August 4, starting at 10 p.m. Eastern. Final eliminations will be broadcast on ESPN on Sunday, August 5, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern with a final telecast on ESPN2 starting at 11 p.m.

-GM Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , John Force , Bruce Allen , George Marnell , Johnny Gray , Jerry Toliver , Tommy Johnson Jr.