Bazemore Posts Career-Best E.T. (4.500) To Finish Preseason Testing CHANDLER, Ariz. (January 31, 2007) -- Longtime Matco Tools racer Whit Bazemore entered the National Time Trails as one of the more polished Funny Cars drivers in the sport of...
Bazemore Posts Career-Best E.T. (4.500) To Finish Preseason Testing
CHANDLER, Ariz. (January 31, 2007) -- Longtime Matco Tools racer Whit Bazemore entered the National Time Trails as one of the more polished Funny Cars drivers in the sport of drag racing. With his flopper days behind him, Bazemore had two immediate goals during the six-day test at Firebird International Raceway, cross grade his NHRA license for eligibility in the Top Fuel category and the get comfortable behind the wheel of his Matco Tools Iron Eagle dragster. Mission accomplished.
"This debut with the new team couldn't have gone smoother," Bazemore said. "The car was prepared perfectly and our performance reflected that. The team did everything they could to make my transition as easy as possible, and ultimately, that's why it was easy. I'm still learning the nuances of the Top Fuel car, but I feel comfortable in it. We're very confident that the Matco Tools dragster will be very competitive this season."
The 20-time NHRA Funny Car winner made multiple passes in his sleek new race car getting acclimated with his longer wheelbase 300-inch rail. Bazemore, who has 29 poles to his resume, clicked off multiple passes in the mid-4.5-second range to cross grade his competition license, which was signed by 13-time NHRA champion John Force, teammate Rod Fuller and NHRA/ESPN analyst and close friend Mike Dunn. The preseason test culminated with Baze blasting his Lee Beard-tuned dragster to a pass of 4.500 seconds at 321.88 mph. With Fuller clocking a 4.490-second pass on Wednesday, Beard is satisfied with the team's testing results.
"We're very pleased with the testing," Beard said. "As far as (Whit) Bazemore goes, he adapted to driving a Top Fuel car very well, just as we expected. He's an exceptional driver. The biggest thing we're pleased with is that we have the same combination in both cars and they're performing nearly the same. Just like today, we ran a 4.49 and a 4.50. To get two separate race cars with different drivers to run that close is pretty amazing."
"We ran a handful of 4.54s and 4.55s and we ran some low 4.50s shutting off early," Bazemore added. "We're going in the right direction with the car. Lee (Beard) was conservative because the majority of the testing was for me to get laps and comfortable in the car. We tested some new clutch parts and there's a lot left on the table tune-up-wise. The conditions are good here and if we continued testing, there's no doubt we'd go quicker and quicker each time."
With a solid tune-up on both Powers-owned cars heading into the 2007 NHRA season, both the Matco Tools and Valvoline teams will spend the next few days servicing the dragsters and getting everything ready for the next week's season-opening Winternationals, Feb. 8-11, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Bazemore is a two-time finalist at historic California drag strip.