Columbus: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

Bazemore loses body in final qualifying round, takes no. 7 spot COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 14, 2003) - Whit Bazemore had a spectacular final round of qualifying for tomorrow's Pontiac Excitement NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway, but it wasn't...

Bazemore loses body in final qualifying round, takes no. 7 spot

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 14, 2003) - Whit Bazemore had a spectacular final round of qualifying for tomorrow's Pontiac Excitement NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway, but it wasn't because he broke a track record or was low qualifier. Instead, his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car body flew off before half-track after a supercharger exploded. Bazemore didn't complete that run, and had to settle for No. 7 position based on the 4.877/313.95 pass he posted in the second of only three qualifying runs held this weekend because of rain.

"We were going for No. 1, that was our goal," he said after the final round. "We thought a high .70 would get the job done and that's what we were going out there to run with the Matco Tools Dodge. I don't know what broke on the car. Obviously we had some kind of a little malfunction in the motor and it blew the supercharger off. To make a long story short, we didn't get the pole. I think that body's trash, and we'll run another one. I don't know which one. The only way I can tell the difference between the bodies is some have clearer windshields that I like better than some that don't. Actually, that one had a windshield that wasn't so good, so goodbye to that one."

After struggling in the first round of qualifying and with intermittent rain disrupting the schedule, it was important to get in one good run today, which Bazemore did in that second session. "It was a good run," he said. "We did struggle yesterday, all of us did. Today the weather was questionable this morning and all afternoon. It was very very important to make the most out of that possibly one session today. And, as it was, we ran an .87, which was competitive and we lost a little bit of e.t. I let the car go a little bit left at half-track, and it kind of fishtailed. It was a little loose from half track to the finish line and that cost maybe a hundredth (of a second). All in all, not bad."

Bazemore has qualified in the top half of the field at each of the 11 events so far. "It's a credit to the team. Lee (Beard, crew chief) and Dan (Oldson, co-crew chief) are doing an outstading job," he added. "Everybody is, really. The important thing for us obviously is race day. We need to continue to go rounds and our competition (Tony Pedregon) is looking awfully strong. They're No. 1 again for the sixth time this year. We're still not quite there; we're working hard. I feel like we're the underdog a little bit, but we're chasing and hopefully we can catch."

Bazemore will face Dean Skuza in the first round of eliminations tomorrow.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore