Sonoma Chevrolet Racing Finals Report

SONOMA, Calif.; Aug. 8, 1999: In his third final round appearance since he debuted the all-new '99 Camaro body, Whit Bazemore took his Kendall Oil/Superwinch Camaro Z28 Funny Car from pole position to winner's circle at the Autolite ...

SONOMA, Calif.; Aug. 8, 1999: In his third final round appearance since he debuted the all-new '99 Camaro body, Whit Bazemore took his Kendall Oil/Superwinch Camaro Z28 Funny Car from pole position to winner's circle at the Autolite Nationals at Sears Point International Raceway, the 14th of 22 events of the '99 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. This was Bazemore's first title since he joined Team Chevrolet in the middle of 1998, and the first Funny Car win this season for the Camaro. Camaros won eight of the 22 events in '98, more than any other brand. Bazemore, of Indianapolis, defeated Frank Pedregon in the final round with a 4.963-second pass at 301.74 mph versus Pedregon's 14.809/72.77. Whit's worst elapsed time of eliminations was a 5.021 against Dean Skuza in the second round, clearly demonstrating his consistency and dominance this weekend. He defeated Cruz Pedregon in the first round with a 4.979-second elapsed time to Cruz's 5.236, and in the semifinals he sent packing Tony Pedregon, his rival for second in points, with an e.t. of 4.876 seconds at 310.20 mph, both track records. Pedregon's 5.075/261.32 in one of John Force's Mustangs was no match for Whit's rocket run. Force went out in the first round. "We lost to Cruz in the final last year, so we felt like we had to redeem ourselves here and we did," said Bazemore. "It was tough. The toughest race was the third round against Tony Pedregon. Let's face it, that's Force's team. We know the technology they have. Actually, we don't know the technology they have. They're very good. We knew they were capable of running a 4.80 or a low .90. They have done it before this year. I guess Tim Richards (Team Kendall crew chief) decided he wasn't going to take it anymore. An .87 was unbelievable. That was the highlight of the weekend." By ousting Tony Pedregon in the semifinal, Whit moves closer to second place in the point standings. He's now just 131 points behind Tony. "We have caught up now with Force's team," commented Whit on the success of the new Camaro body. "If the season started today, it would be a different season. They want to play the game, we want to play the game, General Motors wants to play the game. We will play the game. We're aggressive and we will fight them. It's all about downforce. I think our new Camaro has narrowed the advantage Force's team has. You have to get everything as maxed out as you can according to the rulebook." This was Whit's sixth career victory in 13 final round appearances. His last win came at the 1998 Fram Nationals in Joliet, Ill. The Camaro's last victory was at the 1998 Winston Finals, where Chuck Etchells captured the title in the Kendall Camaro. Etchells then announced that Bazemore, who had lost sponsorship on his Camaro Funny Car, would drive the car for the '99 season.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Chuck Etchells , Cruz Pedregon , Tim Richards