Houston: Bazemore powers to semi-finals

Any questions were seemingly answered in the opening stanza when Bazemore powered the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing through the Houston quarter-mile in 4.946 seconds, with a top speed of 311.77 mph, allowing the Indianapolis...

Any questions were seemingly answered in the opening stanza when Bazemore powered the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing through the Houston quarter-mile in 4.946 seconds, with a top speed of 311.77 mph, allowing the Indianapolis resident to overcome opponent (and 2001 Etchells Racing pilot) Tommy Johnson Jr.'s starting line advantage and gain the victory. Although a nearly identical pass gained Bazemore the easy win over Phil Burkart in the second round, his 4.940-second e.t. was not enough to secure lane choice for his semi-final match-up with rival Tony Pedregon.

Running in the right lane for the first time all day, Bazemore seemed ready to advance to his fourth final round of the season, as early performance numbers showed that he was on a strong run. However, just past the crucial transition point, the Etchells entry drifted slightly out of the groove, with telltale tire smoke indicating a loss of traction. Despite Bazemore's best efforts, he was unable to reach his fourth final round of the season. Although they fell shy of reaching their ultimate goal, crew chief Terry Manzer was nevertheless pleased with the Kendall/Matco Camaro's performance throughout the day. "You can't blame our loss on the lane, because John Force ran a 4.84 in the right lane just before us. It was more a matter of the groove being very narrow, and we might not have hit it as exactly as John did. The incremental times showed that it was on a better run than it had made all weekend, so despite the final outcome, we're pretty happy.

"We had struggled earlier in the weekend for a couple of reasons. First, we debuted a new Camaro body here this weekend, and Friday's first qualifying session was the first time we had actually raced with such a light body, since we couldn't bring this paint scheme out in public before this weekend. In addition, we're still dealing with the ever-changing clutch disc scenario, where we've been trying to figure these new ones out. But when you take into account how things started for this Kendall/Matco Camaro team, and where we ended up, it was pretty good weekend."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Phil Burkart , Tommy Johnson Jr.