Englishtown: Whit Bazemore final summary

Bazemore out in first round in E-Town ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 20, 2004) - The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series has reached the mid-point of the 2004 season after 11 of 23 races and the battle for the Funny Car championship is as strong as it's...

Bazemore out in first round in E-Town

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 20, 2004) - The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series has reached the mid-point of the 2004 season after 11 of 23 races and the battle for the Funny Car championship is as strong as it's ever been, as drivers Whit Bazemore, Del Worsham and John Force, among seven others, duke it out for points and all the marbles.

Bazemore, driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T, arrived in Englishtown, N.J., for this weekend's K&N Filters Supernationals leading the Funny Car class by 21 points ahead of Worsham and 83 over John Force. He now leaves in second, 20 points behind Worsham and 22 ahead of John Force, after losing to Worsham in the first round of eliminations.

It's always a bummer when one qualifies in the No. 9 spot, as Bazemore did at this event, because one is then faced with racing the No. 8 qualifier. In this case, it was Worsham. Both drivers claimed to welcome the challenge, and the fans were looking for a close race. Each had a chance to make major headway in the point standings: Bazemore to extend his lead, Worsham to close in on and perhaps pass for the lead.

Bazemore was first off at the starting lights with an .027 of a second advantage, and he was dead-heading to the finish line in front until the 330-ft. mark when he hazed the tires. So did Worsham, but he recovered first and crossed the stripe in 5.028 seconds at 288.39 mph to Bazemore's 5.207/269.94, for a margin of victory of .1524 of a second.

"It was an important race, there is no question," said Bazemore, the national E.T. record holder of 4.713 seconds and fastest Funny Car driver on Earth (333.25 mph). "It's certainly not the championship at this point, but it was an important round to win. We overpowered the race track after half track and they came around us and they won.

"It's frustrating but it's racing.

"They're a great team," he said of Worsham's effort. "Del is a really good driver. We have a lot of respect for them. They're going to be in the mix right until the end. We're just focused on our team and what we're doing and trying to make sure we're there at the end too. That's the important thing. We need to be consistent and go rounds.

"Any first-round loss is hard," he added. "That can make things tough down the road, but you're going to have some first-round losses during the season. You have to hope that you can make up for it by winning a fair number of races too."

Next up is the Sears Craftsman Nationals in Madison, Ill., June 25-27.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force