Sonoma: Whit Bazemore preview

SEATTLE WINNER BAZEMORE READY FOR MORE HEAT IN SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 28, 2006) - Whit Bazemore said he was ready for the summer months before winning Seattle in record heat. And he says he, crew chief Todd Okuhara and the Matco Tools Iron...

SEATTLE WINNER BAZEMORE READY FOR MORE HEAT IN SONOMA

SONOMA, Calif. (July 28, 2006) - Whit Bazemore said he was ready for the summer months before winning Seattle in record heat. And he says he, crew chief Todd Okuhara and the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team are still ready for more heat in Northern California as the final race of the three-event Western Swing (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.) comes to Infineon Raceway this weekend for the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals.

Two-time U.S. Nationals champion Bazemore and the Matco Tools team have come back fighting after struggling early in the season and are back as top contenders in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car class.

His Seattle victory under extreme conditions bodes well for the team's performance this weekend in Sonoma, if only for the renewed confidence the first win since Las Vegas 1 in 2005 has inspired.

"Our plan is to try to win again," says Bazemore, the 1999 Sonoma Funny Car titlist. "It does feel good coming to a race after having won, but the plate is clean and you have to do it all over again. Everyone basically starts at zero.

"What happened last week really has no bearing on what happens this week or next week. I'm sure it gives everyone on the team a little more confidence having a win under our belts, especially for crew chief Todd Okuhara. Your first win as a crew chief, I'm sure, is just tremendous. Same as your first win as a driver. It's a moment you never forget. Sometimes the first one takes the longest to get.

"It didn't take Todd very long and hopefully it's a sign of things to come.

"It's typically hot weather here," says Bazemore, who was No. 1 Funny Car qualifier here three times (1999, 2000, 2001). "I think right now we have a pretty good hot-weather tune-up, as evidenced by Seattle, where they had record heat. Denver too. We ran well in Denver, we just had a problem in the first round that cost us there. If we can eliminate all of our problems, much like we did in Seattle, I think we'll be very competitive here in the conditions that we typically see in Sonoma."

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore