Baytown: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

Bazemore No. 11 in Houston, faces Worsham again in first round HOUSTON, Texas (April 17, 2004) - For the second straight race, Whit Bazemore will meet the points leader in the first round of Funny Car eliminations for the O'Reilly NHRA Spring ...

Bazemore No. 11 in Houston, faces Worsham again in first round

HOUSTON, Texas (April 17, 2004) - For the second straight race, Whit Bazemore will meet the points leader in the first round of Funny Car eliminations for the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals after qualifying in the lower half of the field. Bazemore, who qualified No. 11 in his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus today at the newly-resurfaced Houston Raceway Park, defeated Del Worsham in the first round at the last event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from the No. 10 spot.

Bazemore posted his best pass of the weekend (4.927/297.68) in the second round last night under cooler conditions on an unseasoned track surface, which followed a 7.915/98.97 lap in the first round. Today's two attempts did not improve his position (4.962/286.56 and 4.949/300.13) but the final run did deliver crew chief Lee Beard and the Matco Tools team a good baseline of how to attack this race track.

The weather so far this weekend has been warm, not stifling, with a cool breeze today providing comfortable conditions.

"On a day like today a couple of years ago - a good day here in Houston with some partly cloudy skies - we would have easily seen a lot of Funny Cars run low .80s," said Bazemore, referring to the results on a "green" track surface, which included only one pass in the low .80s, by polesitter Gary Densham, a 4.846. "I think things may change for tomorrow, hopefully for the better.

"Lee was very happy with our last run and thinks it's the one that we can build off of the easiest," said the two-time U.S. Nationals champion. "I think he's right. We went down the track, we went 250 mph at half-track, which is pretty good, and the team is working hard to overcome the challenges that the track preparation is creating for us and everyone else.

"We ran within a couple of hundredths of low E.T. (4.874) in the last session," he added. "We're not unhappy with that.

"We were in a bind last night. When you have track preparation similar to what we have here, the night run is going to be the only one that really counts. There are no excuses. We had to qualify last night so we couldn't be as aggressive as we normally would have been, and the fact that we overpowered the track in the first run also meant we were near the front (of the field to qualify for the night session), so we didn't have the benefit of watching other cars show us what the track could handle."

As it was for Bazemore in Las Vegas, facing points leader Del Worsham in the first round of eliminations for the second consecutive race is a welcome challenge. In Vegas, defeating Worsham helped Bazemore vault into fourth in the standings after he reached the final round, where he lost to Phil Burkart because of a mechanical problem.

"We have good first-round draw again," he smiled. "We're feeling aggressive and we're going to go out and try to do our best to win a drag race tomorrow."

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore