Whit Bazemore Upset in Denver First Round MORRISON, Colo. (July 18, 2004) - Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car crew chief Lee Beard did not receive the birthday present he was wishing for today, as his driver and No. 1 qualifier Whit...
Whit Bazemore Upset in Denver First Round
MORRISON, Colo. (July 18, 2004) - Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car crew chief Lee Beard did not receive the birthday present he was wishing for today, as his driver and No. 1 qualifier Whit Bazemore was upset in the first round of eliminations by series newcomer and No. 16 qualifier Robert Schwab.
With a .030 advantage a the lights, Bazemore was on a path to winning his third race at Bandimere Speedway and third of the season at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals until about the eighth-mile mark when he lost traction and smoked the tires. He tried to recover but was unable to reach the finish line before Schwab with his 6.017/261.62 pass to Schwab's 5.665/222.07.
"It's extremely disappointing when you qualify No. 1 by almost a full tenth and you lose in the first round to a new driver who has hardly ever even been down the race track," said a disappointed Bazemore, who still hangs on to third place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series point standings. Del Worsham also went out in the first round and John Force was eliminated in the second.
"There are no excuses," he said of the hotter conditions that prevailed today. "The weather is the same for everybody. It's not like our side of the track was hot and their side of the track was under a big umbrella.
"We knew that the track was going to be drastically different and it's the first time running these new Goodyear tires in the heat. Lee and the Matco Tools team backed the car down to a point that they thought was plenty safe and would be somewhat competitive and go down the track. We were trying just to go down the race track and run a 5.0. We thought a 5.0 would win the round.
"It would've. A 5.60 would have won the round. You can't have hindsight, and the car is stronger than we gave it credit for being.
"The bottom line is we have a tremendous team, we have great people here. I believe in (crew chief) Lee Beard more than I believed in any other person I've ever worked with, really. We're just in a little rut right now and it's frustrating, but we have to stay focused, we have to keep our chins up, and everyone on the team has to exhibit leadership and we have to believe in ourselves.
"I believe in myself 200 percent and I believe in every single person on this team 200 percent. And that hasn't changed. And I think as long as we have that belief in each other we'll get through this in one piece and be strong.
"That doesn't take away from the fact that it's very disappointing and frustrating. It's a tough sport. We've certainly been down this road many, many times.
Next up is the Carquest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Seattle, Wash., July 23-25.