Whit Bazemore backed up his strong performance from Friday night with an ever better pass in Saturday morning's session. At that point, the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 pilot's 4.872-second, 308.00 mph effort was still the class...
Whit Bazemore backed up his strong performance from Friday night with an ever better pass in Saturday morning's session. At that point, the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 pilot's 4.872-second, 308.00 mph effort was still the class of what had become the quickest Funny Car field in NHRA history. However, in the final time trial on Saturday afternoon, John Force matched Bazemore's elapsed time down to the thousandth of a second. By virtue of having recorded the higher top speed, which is the tiebreaker in this instance, Force was awarded the top spot, with Bazemore's pursuit of a Dallas victory starting from the second position. His first round opponent will be 15th qualifier Scotty Cannon, against whom Bazemore has a 4-2 career eliminations record, including a victory in their last meeting in Atlanta earlier this year.
"After the week this Kendall/Matco Camaro team has had, we really wanted that number one qualifying spot. The way I felt when we pulled to the line for the last session reminded me of the finals at Indy in '97. I knew it would be a nice boost for the team.
"Early in that last run, we actually had better times than in the morning session. However, the car started to pull to the side, and before I was able to catch it and bring it back, it was about a foot out of the groove, which is very narrow here, and started smoking the tires. Even so, I'm not sure if it would have been quick enough even if it had stayed straight.
"We're not happy with second, but we'll take it. The fact that we tied for the quickest elapsed time in qualifying shows the tremendous effort made by the Etchells crew. But today is over, and we've turned our focus to Scotty Cannon and advancing rounds. Tomorrow is the most important day of the weekend, and we want to make the most of it."