After placing outside the top sixteen in Friday's time trials, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team knew they faced a tough assignment in Saturdays' final qualifying sessions for the Advance Auto Parts NHRA...
After placing outside the top sixteen in Friday's time trials, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team knew they faced a tough assignment in Saturdays' final qualifying sessions for the Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals. Naturally, their first priority was to post an elapsed time quick enough to secure a spot in Sunday's final eliminations, something they accomplished in their first attempt, using a 4.948-second, 309.91 mph pass to place themselves in the field in the 4th spot. Next on their list was to fine-tune their set-up for race day. Once again, the Etchells Racing Team responded to the challenge, running a 4.937-second elapsed time with a top speed of 308.43 mph in the fourth and final session. This was by far the best pass of that particular session, with Bazemore cementing his fourth place position in the quickest Funny Car field in the history of the NHRA. This also provided the team some welcome positive momentum heading into their first-round encounter with 13th qualifier Scotty Cannon. "After struggling yesterday, there was probably a little more concern in the Etchells camp this morning than I've experienced in my year-and-a-half here. Personally, this is the one race I want to win more than any other, not only because I grew up in Atlanta, but also because this race track is where I fell in love with drag racing and decided that I wanted to drive a Funny Car for a living, no matter the cost. With that in mind yesterday was pretty frustrating.
"But this Etchells Racing Team never faltered. They buckled down and focused on what we had to do. As a result, the Kendall/Matco Camaro was absolutely perfect, including running low e.t. in the heat of the day. Tim Richards gave me a nice, safe hot rod that was easy to drive. Now we have to carry this effort forward through tomorrow, which I know we can do. We'll have to be on our game from the start, because we have a tough opponent in the first round with Scotty Cannon. He's a good racer, and is learning this Funny Car business pretty quickly. We've struggled this year on race day, but my lights were good today, and I know this team is capable of winning races. This is the one we want - it's up to us to go get it.
"The crowds this weekend have been great - the number of fans out here is just huge and it's great to see and be a part of NHRA Drag Racing here in my hometown of Atlanta. So far they've been treated to watching the quickest Funny Car field in history, and we're looking to reward them even further for their support with a good day for the Kendall/Matco Camaro tomorrow."