Bazemore fitted to new Top Fuel seat

Bazemore fitted to new Top Fuel seat Indianapolis (Oct. 6, 2006) - Veteran Funny Car pilot Whit Bazemore, who will be driving for David Powers Motorsports in 2007, was fitted for his new Matco Tools Iron Eagle Top Fuel dragster Wednesday during...

Bazemore fitted to new Top Fuel seat

Indianapolis (Oct. 6, 2006) - Veteran Funny Car pilot Whit Bazemore, who will be driving for David Powers Motorsports in 2007, was fitted for his new Matco Tools Iron Eagle Top Fuel dragster Wednesday during a visit to chassis builder Brad Hadman's suburban Seattle headquarters. Bazemore climbed into his new ride to get the feel of having an 8,000 hp, nitro-breathing engine behind him instead of in front of him.

"This is going to be really different," Bazemore said. "Wrapped inside that carbon-fiber Funny Car body gives you a feeling of security like being in a cocoon. The dragster has a different feel altogether since the engine is behind the driver's compartment, not to mention the weight shift to the back of the car and its long, 300-inch wheelbase.

"I feel the open cockpit of the dragster must give you a sense of speed like nothing else; it has to be like driving a convertible. It's going to take a little getting used to but a few pre-season passes down the strip and I'll be ready for our Pomona debut next February."

This will mark Bazemore's first foray into the Top Fuel class after 18 years in a Funny Car. He will be teammates with existing David Powers Motorsports racer "Hot Rod" Fuller with both drivers running under the tuning expertise of decorated crew chief Lee Beard.

"Whit Bazemore is an outstanding driver and he's been a real asset to Matco Tools over the years," Powers said. "We selected him from a long list of very qualified applicants and we certainly weighed in the opinions and desires of everyone at Matco Tools. The fact he's worked with Lee Beard in the past allowed us insight into how he conducts his professional life and we quickly reached the conclusion that he was our man."

Matco Tools, which boasts franchise distributors in all 50 states across North America, Canada and Puerto Rico, has been affiliated with Bazemore since 2000 when they were an associate sponsor on the Chuck Etchells-owned Kendall Camaro Funny Car. In the end, Powers felt it made the most sense to capitalize on the equity Matco built with Bazemore over the years.

"I'm very grateful to the Matco Tools family of distributors for having the faith in me to continue to lead their racing efforts in the sport of drag racing," the 43-year-old Bazemore said. "David's commitment to success will ensure outstanding results for all aspects of the race team.

"Racing a Top Fuel dragster will be a new challenge but its one I'm looking forward to a great deal. David, Lee Beard, and Rob Flynn are in the process of assembling a first-class team that I know will make the Matco Tools Iron Eagle dragster a contender right away. I fully expect us to contend for the POWERade title in 2007 and beyond."

An avid cyclist away from the track, Bazemore entered 336 national events in a Funny Car, third most among active, full-time racers behind John Force and Gary Densham. Aside from his 20 victories in 46 final-round appearances and 338-294 race day record, Bazemore is perhaps best known as 13-time champion Force's archrival. The two have shared many on-track battles over the years.

"I'll miss racing Force and the other guys over there but at the same time, I look forward to racing Brandon Bernstein, Larry Dixon, Doug Kalitta, and the rest of the Top Fuel racers so it's a nice trade-off," Bazemore said. "This is just a new chapter in my life and my career and I'm very excited about the possibilities."

-credit: dpr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Whit Bazemore , Gary Densham , Brandon Bernstein , David Powers