Bazemore Maintains Points Lead, Goes Out in Second Round COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 13, 2004) - Whit Bazemore faced a challenge in the Funny Car second round today at National Trail Raceway after easily dismissing Jeff Arend in the first round of ...
Bazemore Maintains Points Lead, Goes Out in Second Round
COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 13, 2004) - Whit Bazemore faced a challenge in the Funny Car second round today at National Trail Raceway after easily dismissing Jeff Arend in the first round of eliminations. His 4.863/313.58 winning pass over Arend did not give him lane choice over rookie Eric Medlen from John Force's team in the quarter-final, relegating him to the less-favored right lane.
Bazemore, driving the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus, has defeated Medlen in each of their three meetings this season, including the final round two weeks ago in Topeka. Under hot and slippery conditions today, however, Medlen simply out-performed the Funny Car points leader by taking the win light with a 4.869-second elapsed time at 302.69 mph to Bazemore's 4.946/309.06, despite Medlen's slow reaction time of .149 versus Bazemore's .085.
Bazemore holds on to his Funny Car points lead and now tops Del Worsham, today's event winner, by 21 points. John Force, who entered this race third in points, also hangs on to the same spot, 83 points behind Bazemore, despite red-lighting to lose in the second round.
"We got beat by an outstanding run in the heat of the day and that's about it," said Bazemore, winner twice this year. "They ran really well and we had it tuned to run just about exactly what we ran and that's what Lee (Beard, crew chief) and (chief mechanic) Ronnie (Thompson) thought was the maximum ET we could get out of our car in that lane in those conditions.
"We just got outrun. It's disappointing. The Matco Tools team is doing an outstanding job and everybody on the team is just totally first class and we're going to Englishtown next week still in the points lead. We feel really good about what we're doing. We just lost a drag race and you're going to lose them."
"Bazemore was staged deep, which resulted in a 4.94 (-second pass)," said Beard. "Probably a shallow stage would have produced a .90 flat or a .91 in the right-hand lane. We backed the thing up. We did not beat ourselves. That's basically all we set it up for, because all four dragsters that ran in that lane during the second round - and there were some good cars there, Kalitta and Bernstein - all smoked the tires. And the Funny Cars ahead of us smoked the tires. We didn't want to give it away. Those numbers would have beat any car out there other than Medlen's exceptional 4.86 on the left-hand side.
"It's just one of those kind of days where, hey, you get outrun, but we didn't give it to them, they earned it."
Next up is the K&N Filters Supernationals in Englishtown, N.J., June 18-20.