Denver: Whit Bazemore preview

Bazemore expects challenges at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals MORRISON, Colo. (July 14, 2004) - Whit Bazemore has enjoyed impressive results at Bandimere Speedway in his 15-year NHRA Funny Car career, including two wins (1997 and 2000), a ...

Bazemore expects challenges at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals

MORRISON, Colo. (July 14, 2004) - Whit Bazemore has enjoyed impressive results at Bandimere Speedway in his 15-year NHRA Funny Car career, including two wins (1997 and 2000), a runner-up finish in 1999 and four No. 1 qualifiers ('97, '98, '00 and '01).

The driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus who has scored two Funny Car wins this season and produced the quickest and fastest pass in NHRA Funny Car history, a 333.25-mph run at a national elapsed-time record of 4.713 seconds at Route 66 Raceway, expects new challenges at this weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals following recent rules changes.

"The situation going into Denver is a little different now than normal because of the new rules that have been implemented by NHRA," said the Indianapolis resident and two-time U.S. Nationals champion who is third in Funny Car points. " We're going to have a different tire supplied by Goodyear that we're mandated to run. So there's a little bit of a question mark as to how that tire's going to react and what we're going to have to do to make the car competitive.

"The good thing is that everybody is in the same situation," he added. "It may take a run or two before we get a handle on it. Sometimes in those situations it's a crapshoot and you can get lucky and some people figure it out before others. Hopefully with the tremendous Matco Tools team that we're a part of we'll be one of the cars to have a handle on it sooner rather than later."

Bazemore, who takes advantage of the start of the Western Swing each year by following his passion and cycling through the hills surrounding Bandimere Speedway when he has the chance, calls Bandimere one of his favorite race tracks. "We've always liked this track," he said. "Bandimere is one of the top facilities and the fans are tremendous. Friday night qualifying at Bandimere is definitely one of the highlights of the year. It has a great atmosphere and a huge number of fans that come out. We like the facility, we like the town.

"It's a hard race, however, but we've been fortunate that we've done well here," he commented. "It's extremely challenging running at altitude. It's a race at which you have to compromise and your tune-up is so different than normal that it rewards the team that can adapt to new situations quickly.

"Lee (Beard, crew chief - a Pueblo, Colo., native) has a good tune-up for the track and it would be nice to do well here with this Matco Tools Dodge team at a Mopar-sponsored event."

Pro qualifying begins on Friday, July 16, with two sessions scheduled for 4:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. On Saturday, pro qualifying will continue at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Final eliminations on Sunday begin at 12:30 p.m.

On Saturday, July 17, ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 8 p.m. (ET). On Sunday, July 18, ESPN2 will televise 150 minutes of eliminations at 9 p.m. (ET). On Sunday, July 18, ESPN2 will televise NHRA 2Day, a 30-minute magazine show at 11:30 a.m. (ET).

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore