Joliet: Whit Bazemore Friday summary

BAZEMORE LOOKS TO IMPROVE SATURDAY AT JOLIET JOLIET, Ill. (June 8, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore is accustomed to success at Route 66 Raceway. The veteran nitro pilot is a four-time finalist at the Chicagoland track with three career trips to the ...

BAZEMORE LOOKS TO IMPROVE SATURDAY AT JOLIET

JOLIET, Ill. (June 8, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore is accustomed to success at Route 66 Raceway. The veteran nitro pilot is a four-time finalist at the Chicagoland track with three career trips to the winner's circle, including the inaugural event in 1998. Friday afternoon he drove his Matco Tools dragster to a 4.598-second elapsed time.

Entering the ninth race on the 2007 NHRA schedule ranked eighth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings, the 20-time winner used a tune-up from champion crew chief Lee Beard to power the Matco Tools dragster to a solid opening effort of 4.598 seconds at 327.27 mph to position the Matco-backed rail ninth in the Top Fuel order. On his second pass, Bazemore was on a solid mid-4.5-second pass before the Matco Tools rail suffered a mechanical problem and slowed to a run of 4.659 at 256.31 mph. That leaves Bazemore 18th in the 16-car order with two qualifying sessions remaining.

"It should have run a 4.53, but it dropped an exhaust valve and we had to shut off," Bazemore said. "It's time like this that test you and the team's ability to cope with the frustration. We've had a lot of that at the last couple of races. However, it's refreshing with the guys we have on the race team. They are second to none. This is, without a doubt, the best team I've ever worked with. You cannot get a better team than what we have here. We just need to be patient. We'll run a mid-4.50 and get in the show tomorrow."

Top Fuel qualifying resumes on Saturday afternoon with sessions scheduled for 1 and 4:30 p.m. (CT) at the Joliet facility. ESPN2 will televise 90 minutes of qualifying highlights at 5 p.m. (ET) on Saturday evening.

-credit: dpm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore