Topeka: Whit Bazemore preview

BAZEMORE RETURNS TO SITE OF FIRST WIN IN TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (May 23, 2006) - Whit Bazemore always has a soft spot in his heart for Heartland Park Topeka. It's the site of his first Funny Car win, back in 1997, and also where he won in...

BAZEMORE RETURNS TO SITE OF FIRST WIN IN TOPEKA

TOPEKA, Kan. (May 23, 2006) - Whit Bazemore always has a soft spot in his heart for Heartland Park Topeka. It's the site of his first Funny Car win, back in 1997, and also where he won in 2004.

So, the driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, who's made a huge turnaround in performance the last few races of the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, would like to three-peat here this weekend at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

He's fresh off a strong showing in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend, where he had the car to beat. Bazemore made it into his first final round of the season, with lane choice every time. Then a mechanical problem put him out of the running in the money round.

That's all right, though, according to Bazemore, who moved into eighth in the point standings. "The important thing is that we're running well and I feel like we have momentum and it's great," he says. "That's what this sport is all about and you have to have that to be successful.

"It doesn't matter where we are racing this weekend, I'd be excited. But the fact that it is Topeka, where we won our first race ever back in 1997 - my first race as a driver, my second as a team owner - is very exciting.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back to Heartland Park. It's a good track. It's a special place for me, obviously, and I like it."

He recalls that first win: "I remember exactly. It was a hot day, it was in June, and we had Randy Anderson in the final. He was kind of a rookie, but very well-funded, a good team, and they had won two races already that year. And I remember going into the final thinking, I'm not going to give my trophy to this guy. And that's how we approached it. We were in a very aggressive state of mind and we got the job done."

Since then, Bazemore has won 18 additional national events and is looking for this 20th career victory this weekend.

His Topeka record also includes qualifying No. 1 here in 2004 and 1999, and a runner-up finish in 2003.

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore