Bazemore advances to second round, is taken out by Frank Pedregon BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 17, 2003) - There is some relative good news coming out of Brainerd International Raceway today for Whit Bazemore, driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge...
Bazemore advances to second round, is taken out by Frank Pedregon
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 17, 2003) - There is some relative good news coming out of Brainerd International Raceway today for Whit Bazemore, driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus. Although he lost in the second round of Funny Car eliminations to Frank Pedregon, Frank's brother Tony, Baze's rival for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship, was eliminated in the semifinal. What could have turned into a huge lead for Pedregon over Bazemore turned into just a 61-point lead, as Bazemore also outqualified Pedregon to earn additional points.
No. 3 qualifier Bazemore faced the other Pedregon brother, Cruz, in the first round, handily dismissing him with a 5.046/303.16 pass to a 5.188/279.44.
Frank Pedregon outran Bazemore with a 5.102/292.58 pass in the quarterfinal, as Bazemore hazed the tires half track to post a losing 5.249/271.79.
This loss bolstered the two-time U.S. Nationals champion Bazemore's resolve to fight even harder for his first Funny Car championship in the season's remaining seven races. "If this Matco Tools Dodge team is going to win this championship, we cannot fail," he declared. "It goes for me, it goes for everybody. I've cost this team some rounds and we've gotten beat. From this day forward it just can't happen. We're either going to come out here and race and enjoy ourselves and let come what may or we have to go out there and make stuff happen. We have to make it happen. We've got to be strong every single round.
"We had an opportunity today to put ourselves further out in front of John Force (which he did and now leads the 12-time Funny Car champion by 174 points) and potentially catch Tony and it just wasn't our day. So we're going to have to make the U.S. Nationals our day and that's what we're focusing on from now on.
"There's a reason it smoked the tires and it was in trouble from the get-go," he added. "It's the way the chips fall sometimes. We have a tremendous Matco Tools team over here. These guys are so good; they're perfect. They want this in the worst way and I want it in the worst way and as a team we're gong to succeed. We got beat as a team. I'm upset because we got beat; I'm not upset for any other reason. We just needed to win this race today and we didn't."
Next on the schedule is NHRA-sponsored testing at Indianapolis Raceway Park Tuesday and Wednesday in advance of the U.S. Nationals there on Labor Day weekend.