BAZEMORE NOSTALGIC ABOUT RETURN TO ATLANTA DRAGWAY COMMERCE, Ga. (May 2, 2006) - Two-time U.S. Nationals champion Whit Bazemore gets nostalgic each time he competes at Atlanta Dragway, where he saw his first Funny Car run as a teenager, then...
BAZEMORE NOSTALGIC ABOUT RETURN TO ATLANTA DRAGWAY
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 2, 2006) - Two-time U.S. Nationals champion Whit Bazemore gets nostalgic each time he competes at Atlanta Dragway, where he saw his first Funny Car run as a teenager, then vowed to race a Funny Car some day. The driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car returns to the area where he grew up for this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals.
The 43-year-old Indianapolis resident remembers the emotional wins - and losses - he's had here after becoming that Funny Car driver: in 1999 as runner-up to his perennial nemesis John Force, then a huge win over the 13-time champion in 2002, and his last victory, against his teammate Gary Scelzi in 2004.
After two semifinal-round finishes in the last two NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series races of the 2006 season, Bazemore is also pumped by the car's and the Matco Tools team's performance following last Sunday's event at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway.
"It's always exciting for me to go back to Atlanta," says Bazemore. "I say it every year, but it is the place where my dream kind of started. I'm just one of those lucky individuals who has been fortunate enough in my life to live my dream and do what I love doing. And the fact that it started in Atlanta and Commerce, where I saw my very first Funny Car run - Tom McEwen in 1977- means a lot to me to come back here. It's a special place.
"Seeing that McEwen run was powerful. I was hooked," he adds. "However, there was one problem the car was so fast and quick that I was intimidated and didn't know if I could ever drive it or not."
He has since proven he could.
"We've won here twice," says Bazemore, who has 19 national event wins to his credit. "Those are nice trophies. Some races are just races. Every race is equally as hard to win as any other race, but there's no denying the fact that some mean more than others. And, obviously the U.S. Nationals means the most, and then you have some of the lesser races, which Atlanta is, but they mean a lot to different people for different reasons. And Atlanta means a lot to me because I grew up here."