Bazemore goes to semis at U.S. Nationals INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 6, 2004) - Two-time U.S. Nationals champion Whit Bazemore wasn't able to three-peat here at the prestigious 50th Annual U.S. Nationals in the Funny Car class, but he did make ground in...
Bazemore goes to semis at U.S. Nationals
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 6, 2004) - Two-time U.S. Nationals champion Whit Bazemore wasn't able to three-peat here at the prestigious 50th Annual U.S. Nationals in the Funny Car class, but he did make ground in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series point standings after reaching the semifinal round in his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus.
Under steamy conditions, No. 6 qualifier Bazemore eliminated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round with a 4.941/314.83 to Johnson's 4.997/312.93 by a .0442 of a second margin of victory.
Earning lane choice for the second round, Bazemore faced his old nemesis Tony Pedregon and disposed of him with a 4.896/312.50 to Pedregon's 5.015/272.56.
Bazemore launched first in the semifinal against Gary Densham with a .109 light to Densham's .122 and shot into the lead. But a loss of traction early in the run resulted in a slow 6.220/173.32 pass, with Densham taking the win with a 4.934/315.05.
With Bazemore's teammate Gary Scelzi eliminating John Force in the second round, and Del Worsham also losing in the opener, Bazemore made some ground on points leader Force and put some distance between him and Worsham in third. Bazemore is now 227 points behind Force, 21 in back of Scelzi, and 45 ahead of Worsham.
Another plus to going rounds today was the Matco Tools team's ability to get a handle on its hot-weather setup.
"We made really good progress today with our hot weather tune-up," said Bazemore. "It was just a little bit off, little too high wheel speed in the third round against Densham from the hit. The car had a lot of tire speed from very early in the run. It was making it, but it didn't make it.
"It was just one of those things. It's a hard loss. I thought after we ran that .89 in the second round that we had a really good handle on the car and the race track, and we were probably just one half nut away in the clutch from going into the final round. But that's how the sport is. It's very cut and dried and there's not one single room for error at all.
"We ran well today. It was a hot day and we've certainly struggled in hot conditions recently with our car. But Lee (Beard, crew chief) and the Matco Tools team did a good job and we're starting to find our way in the heat. So, when you step back and look at the big picture, it was a very positive day, even though we didn't win."
Next on the NHRA schedule is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pa., Sept. 16-19.