Columbus: Whit Bazemore Friday summary

Bazemore No. 1 on Friday in Columbus HEBRON, Ohio (June 11, 2004) - Whit Bazemore and crew chief Lee Beard continue their strong performances with the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car, as Bazemore broke the Funny Car ET and speed...

Bazemore No. 1 on Friday in Columbus

HEBRON, Ohio (June 11, 2004) - Whit Bazemore and crew chief Lee Beard continue their strong performances with the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car, as Bazemore broke the Funny Car ET and speed track records here at National Trail Raceway tonight to become low qualifier. The Funny Car points leader blistered the quarter-mile tonight, in the second qualifying session, with a 4.774-second pass at 325.92 mph.

"We felt good going into tonight," he said. "We had second low ET of the first session (4.873/304.05), shutting it off a little early with a cylinder out down track. The runs on Friday night in the summertime are the runs that really count if you're trying to go for No. 1 and when you run well during the first session, you're in a position to go for No. 1 and you can afford to make a mistake. So Lee (Beard, crew chief) and the guys prepared a perfect car and it went right down there. It was somewhat of a handful but it ran really strongly; we hung with it, and we ended up with a 4.77. I think given the conditions we have here, it's pretty damned good."

The track has been re-paved and the weather conditions tonight were extremely humid. "It's just a little slick," he added, "and the groove is really narrow and the car wanted to move around. It was right on the edge. It moved out of the groove just a tiny bit; (I was) able to bring it back. It stayed glued. It's important that you don't get any tire spin, so we were fortunate.

"These results are to the credit of Lee Beard and (co-crew chief) Dan Olson and (chief mechanic) Ronnie Thompson. The guys on the team, especially in qualifying, are the ones that make the call. The car is virtually perfect. It puts more pressure on me, honestly, because all I can do is mess it up. They give me a perfect car. We're either going to make a perfect run if I do my job right, or I'm going to make a mistake and we're going to be less than what we could have been. But, honestly, the car is flawless. While my job is a little harder because of the pressure, it's actually a lot easier to drive because I don't have to worry about anything. It's a real pleasure to drive.

"In this sport, unfortunately, you have to prove yourself every weekend, every run. We can't take anything for granted. We have to work hard every run, every day, stay totally focused on what we're trying to do. If we do that I think the Matco Tools team has a good chance of being a contender all year and that's really all we can ask for, and then rise above when we need to."

Two more qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore