BAZEMORE CONTINUES TO PROGRESS BEHIND THE WHEEL OF JMATCO TOOLS IRON EAGLE DRAGSTER CHANDLER, Ariz. (January 27, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore came within one pass of earning his NHRA Top Fuel license Saturday at Firebird International Raceway during...
BAZEMORE CONTINUES TO PROGRESS BEHIND THE WHEEL OF JMATCO TOOLS IRON EAGLE DRAGSTER
CHANDLER, Ariz. (January 27, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore came within one pass of earning his NHRA Top Fuel license Saturday at Firebird International Raceway during the National Time Trials. The 20-time NHRA winner powered his Lee Beard-tuned dragster to an early shutoff run of 4.629 seconds at 267.11 mph on Saturday's second testing effort. He needs just one more run of at least 5.20 seconds at 260 mph to cross grade his license for Top Fuel competition. While he continued to gain confidence in his new longer-wheelbase nitro-burning race car, the avid cycler is aware that there will be a few ups-and-downs along the way.
"We learned a lot on Saturday," Bazemore said. "It's a way different car. It so different, it's night and day from a Funny Car. This morning, I overdrove it. I got out of the groove and shut it off before half track. I was disappointed with that. I talked to (Lee) Beard and "Hot" Rod (Fuller) and the fact is that you just can't remotely drive these like you would a Funny Car. The next run we went to 1,000 foot and it was nice and straight. It was a lot better. We ran that 4.62 shutting it off and we learned something there. What I realized is that all the things that make you a good Funny Car driver work against you in a Top Fuel car. That's just the way it is. If you can muscle a Funny Car and keep it in the groove, than you'll be in bad shape in a dragster. It's coming around. I feel confident. The one run made me feel that I can drive this thing straight, and that's important.
"We're going to make some full runs on Sunday. That was the plan tonight, but it shook early. I'm eager to go to the finish line. There's nothing that makes a team, driver, and sponsor feel better than running it to the finish line. The way both cars are running, it's going to be a pretty decent run when we make an entire pass."
Bazemore's 4.629-second pass was the quickest he's even gone in the quarter mile. Last June, he blasted his Matco Tools flopper to a career-best 4.674-second elapsed time. His personal-best speed is 332.25 mph. Both Bazemore and Fuller will continue to test their Matco Tools and Valvoline dragsters at the Phoenix-area track on Sunday afternoon.