Whit Bazemore's second qualifying run at the Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals was more exciting than even the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team could imagine. In only the second run with his special blue-and-yellow ...
Whit Bazemore's second qualifying run at the Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals was more exciting than even the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team could imagine. In only the second run with his special blue-and-yellow Kendall/Sunoco/Matco Tools paint scheme, Bazemore posted his best effort at 5.045 seconds on Saturday afternoon. However, just after crossing the finish line, his left rear tire exploded. It took all of Bazemore's considerable skills to keep his three-wheeled racecar under control and out of the wall. Even so, the flapping rubber caused irreparable damage, forcing the team to go to their backup. The only consolation is that Bazemore's time seemed to place him fourth for Sunday's final eliminations. However, the unusual conditions have the NHRA studying the possibility of adding another qualifying session on Sunday morning. Afterwards, Bazemore spoke of the experience.
"It all happened so quickly. At one point I was going down the track and everything was perfect. I was paying attention to the usual things, such as how the Kendall/Matco Camaro was running, and where I was in the groove. I was worried that something had gone wrong with the motor, because it nosed over near the top end. Then all of a sudden at the finish line, the tire just let go. Right away, the car wanted to turn, and I had to fight to keep it straight.
"It's a shame, because it tore the hell out of our car. The body we had used for this weekend with the Kendall/Sunoco/Matco paint scheme was brand new - that last run was only the second time it went down the track, and now it's destroyed. In addition, we'll also have to go to our backup chassis. It shouldn't be a problem, but it's a lot of work for the team.
"I have no doubt that it was a tire failure - when we took the engine apart, we found it was just a little rich with absolutely no damage. The problem is the track is just so good that the tires don't slip at all, which creates a lot of heat between the core and the rubber. Everyone's tires look the same - we were just the unfortunate ones. I'm sure Goodyear will resolve it because they make a great product. It's going to be a long night, but we'll be ready for eliminations."