Medlen Beats Bazemore But Can't Close Deal Eric Medlen did his job, turning back points leader Whit Bazemore in the second round of the 40th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals, but neither he nor his boss, John Force, could capitalize on the ...
Medlen Beats Bazemore But Can't Close Deal
Eric Medlen did his job, turning back points leader Whit Bazemore in the second round of the 40th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals, but neither he nor his boss, John Force, could capitalize on the opportunity at National Trail Raceway.
Medlen, rookie driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang that won the 2003 NHRA POWERade championship, performed masterfully 0x2022 taking out Tim Wilkerson and Whit Bazemore 0x2022 before losing a narrow semifinal decision to Gary Scelzi.
With Bazemore on the sidelines early, Force had an opportunity to move up in the standings in his bid for an unprecedented 13 series championship. Instead, the 111-time tour winner was upset by Phil Burkart in round two.
Despite their early exits, Force and Medlen remain third and fourth, respectively, in points with 13 races remaining in the series, the next coming up this week at Englishtown, N.J.
Gary Densham, the highest qualified of the three Team Castrol Ford drivers, was beaten by Scelzi in round two, his first loss to the former Top Fuel Champion in six meetings.
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, 55, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 5th at 4.811 seconds, 319.60 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson; lost to Phil Burkart Jr.
Notable: Extended qualifying record to 333 consecutive events.
Quotable:"What do you say? My brain said no but my foot said go. Bottom line, we messed up a chance to close the gap on Baze. The good thing is we've got another shot to make it up for it this week" -- JOHN FORCE.
ERIC MEDLEN, 30, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 10th at 4.847 seconds, 316.90 mph.
Race results: Beat Tim Wilkerson, Whit Bazemore; lost to Gary Scelzi.
Notable: Beat points leader Whit Bazemore in round two and, as a result, moved closer to the POWERade points lead.
Quotable: "That was a tough one to lose but, all in all, we had a good day. We beat two guys we hadn't beaten before and we gained just a little ground on Bazemore.." -- ERIC MEDLEN.
GARY DENSHAM, 57, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford
Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.794 seconds, 321.73 mph.
Race results: Beat Jim Head; lost to Gary Scelzi.
Notable: Lost one position in points but remained well positioned for a late run at the championship.
Quotable: "We didn't expect (to lose traction in a second round match with Scelzi). Jimmy (Crew Chief Jimmy Prock) had it set up pretty safe but it just didn't handle the track." -- GARY DENSHAM.