Englishtown: Bazemore's Firebird runs 4.78; Pawuk's Grand Am No. 1

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 18, 2001 - Whit Bazemore's Pontiac Firebird Funny Car ran the quickest lap under the 90-percent nitro rules tonight at 4.787 seconds during the second round of qualifying for the Matco Tools SuperNationals. That was...

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 18, 2001 - Whit Bazemore's Pontiac Firebird Funny Car ran the quickest lap under the 90-percent nitro rules tonight at 4.787 seconds during the second round of qualifying for the Matco Tools SuperNationals. That was good for the No. 1 qualifying spot going into the final two sessions on Saturday.

"The Matco Tools Firebird ran awfully well," said Bazemore. "It ran good low, moved around a bit, and that had me worried because I was concerned it would get out of the groove, spin the tires and we'd lose the run. We've had good incremental numbers on four or five runs this year, but never put together the entire package for a complete lap like we did tonight. We knew if we could get everything right the possibility was there to bust a big number. A lot of teams are running really well with the 90-percent rule. We knew the potential was there, we just had to find it.

"This is one of our last opportunities, because of the pending summer conditions, that we'll have to run this good until the fall. This track, historically, has provided us with excellent conditions to run record numbers and everyone on the Matco Tools Pontiac team did their job tonight."

In Pro Stock, Mark Pawuk's Summit Racing Grand Am took the No. 1 qualifying spot with a run of 6.832 seconds at 200.17 mph. Mike Edwards is qualified second in a Cavalier, Warren Johnson is third in a Grand Am and Kurt Johnson is fourth in a Cavalier.

"The track was real loose the first session and a lot of cars got loose in the middle," Pawuk said. "My car was one of them. The track got better after the first nitro session with more rubber on the racetrack. Atmospheric conditions were probably only 200 feet better but the Summit Racing Grand Am definitely made a much better pass tonight. I moved around quite a bit in the first session, turned sideways but got it back. We made a sweet run tonight and it's awesome being No. 1.

"At the last two races at Atlanta and Bristol we've struggled with the car. We went from the top four at 60-foot to 24th quickest. We tested this week before we came here and the guys did a great job getting this Grand Am ready to race. Hopefully we've got our problems behind us and we can make some good laps. Our engine shop's been working real hard and we think we may have found some more power."

Qualifying for the SuperNationals continues on Saturday with two more sessions. Final eliminations is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday. Highlights of time trials can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, May 19, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern. ESPN2 will televise two hours of final eliminations on Sunday, May 20, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Whit Bazemore , Mike Edwards