BAZEMORE RUNS HOT AND COLD IN DALLAS Ennis, Texas, April 25, 1999 - After putting on an impressive display of consistent performance in qualifying, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Oil/Superwinch Camaro Z28 Racing Team entered Sunday's final ...
BAZEMORE RUNS HOT AND COLD IN DALLAS
Ennis, Texas, April 25, 1999 - After putting on an impressive display of consistent performance in qualifying, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Oil/Superwinch Camaro Z28 Racing Team entered Sunday's final eliminations of the Castrol Nationals with high hopes. Starting from the fifth spot, Bazemore faced a tough first round opponent in veteran Al Hofmann. Although Hofmann was able to gain a negligible advantage at the start, the result was rarely in doubt, as Bazemore powered to a 4.918-second elapsed time with a top speed of 311.31 miles-per-hour. This not only gained the Etchells Racing pilot the round win, but also lane choice for his second round encounter with Dean Skuza.
But the victory did not come without a price, as a mechanical problem put a hole in the side of the engine block. With only ninety minutes until the next round, the crew scrambled to replace the massive 6,000 horsepower engine. Arriving with just moments to spare, the team rolled their charge to the line, and started it in preparation for their run against Skuza. Unbeknownst to his opponent and the crowd, the crew discovered another problem and attempted a quick fix. The body was then lowered and Bazemore staged. Almost immediately after launching, Bazemore's mount was slowed by severe tire shake, and despite his back-pedaling efforts, his 5.28-second elapsed time was not enough to overcome Skuza's similarly sluggish 5.11-second pass, ending the Kendall team's day.
"We had a good run in the first round," explained Bazemore. "It had been raining, and I was a little concerned that the track could have been a little more slippery than normal. But, it worked out and our Kendall Camaro ran another .91. Unfortunately, we suffered some extensive engine damage because of a problem the team had been trying to work through the last couple of races.
To be quite honest, after qualifying and the first round, we had all expected some really good things today. We felt very confident going in against Dean (Skuza). But we had a problem with the pneumatic system once we started the car, and it's possible that it caused us to have some tire shake. I pedaled it, but we just got out run."
From their first pass down the Texas Motorplex's trademark concrete strip, the Etchells team's consistent performance in qualifying showed them to be a contender for the win on Sunday. With virtually identical 4.92-second runs on Friday, Bazemore placed himself atop the provisional Funny Car standings. After tire shake aborted his morning effort, Bazemore blasted a 4.917-second elapsed time in the final time trial to leave his team smiling, his Camaro in the fifth spot on Sunday's eliminations ladder, and the scheduled first-round encounter with Hofmann.
"The toughest thing is that John (Force) got beat in the second round," stated Bazemore. "We had a good opportunity to make up a round on him, and we didn't. What was most frustrating was losing a round we really shouldn't have. Our competition didn't run that well, and they were there for the picking. Everyone did the best they could. It was just one of those mechanical days when it wasn't Team Kendall's turn to win.
But the good part is that we were consistently fast here and had a great showing in qualifying. Now we're headed to Richmond where this Kendall Camaro team has done well in the past. We'll take today and look to build on it next week."
In Sunday's Funny Car final, Tony Pedregon defeated a tire-smoking Dean Skuza to log his second win of the season. The NHRA now moves on to Richmond, Virginia for the running of the Pennzoil Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park April 29 - May 2.
Funny Car Points Standings (As of 4/25/99): 1. J. Force - 528, 2. T.Pedregon - 454, 3. C. Pedregon - 314, 4. Whit Bazemore - 299, 5. D. Skuza - 293, 6. C. Lee - 259, 7. F. Pedregon - 243, 8. G. Densham - 239, 9. D. Worsham - 225, 10. J. Toliver - 223.
Big Bud Shootout Points (As of 4/25/99): 1. J. Force - 1,790, 2. Whit Bazemore - 1,645, 3. C. Pedregon - 1,620, 4. T. Pedregon - 1,530, 5. R. Capps - 1,380, 6. D. Skuza - 1,330, 7. A. Hofmann - 1,275, 8.(tie) G. Densham - 1,170, 8. (tie) T. Wilkerson - 1,170, 10. D. Worsham - 1,145.