Bazemore Takes No. 1 On Friday In Gainesville GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2004) - The speeds set in today's two Funny Car qualifying rounds for the Gatornationals barely came close to 300 mph, let alone 330 mph, the record speed that Whit ...
Bazemore Takes No. 1 On Friday In Gainesville
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2004) - The speeds set in today's two Funny Car qualifying rounds for the Gatornationals barely came close to 300 mph, let alone 330 mph, the record speed that Whit Bazemore had suggested might be reached here at Gainesville Raceway. But the man who first broke the 325-mph Funny Car mark and holds the track record speed here, qualified No. 1 under hotter conditions than expected.
Bazemore posted the lowest of only two 4-second passes in the second round, a 4.909-second elapsed time at 291.82 mph, beating out Eric Medlen's 4.930/292.49 on the newly-paved track.
"It's hotter today than it's been here in quite a while," said Bazemore. "That's part of it. But the big thing is the track surface. It has no rubber on it yet. It's coming around, but I'd say my prediction is a little off. The potential is there. I felt that this track historically has been a big speed track. I thought this would be the first good opportunity of the season for a Funny Car to break the 330 mph mark.
"I'll stick with driving. My crystal ball was a little cloudy, apparently.
"The track will definitely get better," he added. "For some reason the last couple of years we have really struggled in the summer in higher heat conditions like we have here. (At) tracks like St. Louis, Columbus, Seattle, Sonoma, we've just really struggled a lot. I don't know if it's a combination of tires or the horsepower we're making or the traction compound they're using these days, I don't know. It's been something we've seen over the last several years.
"We're at the Gatornationals. It's only 80 degrees. It's not like it's 95. So I don't know. It makes it a challenge for all of us and it's the same for everybody; it's no big deal.
"The track is very smooth," he continued, "we have a great crowd, it's awesome, and it's great for the Matco Tools team to be low qualifier, at least tonight."