To say the least, the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season has not been what Whit Bazemore expected. Race after race, Bazemore would have a strong qualifying performance in the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28, only to struggle in...
To say the least, the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season has not been what Whit Bazemore expected. Race after race, Bazemore would have a strong qualifying performance in the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28, only to struggle in final eliminations. Through it all, the Etchells Racing team's resolve never wavered, as they preferred to focus on working to solve any problems. Never was this more evident than in the last week, when the crew worked around the clock to assemble a racecar after their primary unit was damaged in Englishtown. Everything seemed back on track, as Bazemore had two outstanding passes with elapsed times in the 4.8 second range in qualifying, missing the top qualifying spot on a tiebreaker.
Raceday dawned with clear skies and high heat. The Kendall/Matco crew chose the preferred left lane for their first round encounter with Scotty Cannon. Bazemore did his job at the line, gaining nearly two hundredths of a second advantage. According to the early numbers, Bazemore's Camaro was on another strong pass, calculating out to a 4.85-second E.T.. Suddenly, as Bazemore approached half-track, the burst panel on the nose of his car blew out, shooting high in the air. At the same time, Bazemore slowed dramatically, allowing his opponent to claim the victory.
An inspection in the pits afterward revealed a broken reverser. In this case, the effect on the racecar would be similar to dropping the driveshaft. This, in turn, unloaded then engine which allowed it to turn extremely high revolutions, and the ensuing pressure build-up knocked out the burst panel, saving the body.
"Today's first round just shows that you can never take anything for granted in this sport. First we had a pretty easy time of it in qualifying with those two 4.80 runs, and we fought Force for number one. That was really exciting, and it felt good to have the Kendall/Matco Camaro back in the thick of things again. Then today we were running better than we did in qualifying and seemed to have Cannon handled. Unfortunately, a part that rarely fails broke. It's a piece that we inspect religiously, and hardly ever replace.
"We're having a tough year, but this team is as solid as a rock. We're not going to dwell on things that have already happened, because we're focusing on what's ahead. We'll go on to the next race and pick up where we left off. It's not going to be a problem."