Joliet: Whit Bazemore preview

THREE-TIME ROUTE 66 CHAMP BAZEMORE EYES ANOTHER WIN JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2005) - With three victories, Whit Bazemore is tied with Del Worsham for most Funny Car wins at the super-fast, record-breaking Route 66 Raceway which opened in 1998. But...

THREE-TIME ROUTE 66 CHAMP BAZEMORE EYES ANOTHER WIN

JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2005) - With three victories, Whit Bazemore is tied with Del Worsham for most Funny Car wins at the super-fast, record-breaking Route 66 Raceway which opened in 1998. But only Bazemore, driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car from Don Schumacher Racing, can claim having won the inaugural event here.

The two-time U.S. Nationals champion who makes his home in Indianapolis defeated Worsham in that race, and went on to triumph again in the fall event in 2001 from the No. 1 qualifying spot, and the spring race in 2003. He was also runner-up last year at the spring race against John Force, whom he beat in 2001, and low qualifier a second time in the fall of 2003.

Route 66 is where Bazemore set his career quickest ET of 4.713 seconds, and his career fastest speed of 333.25 mph, both set in 2004 in what was at the time the quickest and fastest speed in Funny Car history.

Bazemore and crew chief Lee Beard hope that their past success at this ultra-smooth track and the data they acquired in a test session following the last event in Topeka will help them overcome their recent slump. Their goal is to get back closer to the top of the POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car standings with a strong showing in this weekend's CARQUEST Nationals. Bazemore has won twice this year, led the point standings through three events, but has since dropped to fifth in the rankings.

He's still very much in the championship mix and only 51 points out of second place. It's the 178-point deficit to No. 1 John Force that is the team's largest hurdle at this stage of the season, with 14 races remaining.

"Route 66 has turned into the quickest and fastest track on the calendar, so it's always exciting to come here," said Bazemore, who is seeking his first Funny Car championship. "It's a place that we really enjoy going to. It will hopefully be a track where we can get our season back going in the direction that it needs to go in.

"The Matco Tools Dodge team is working very hard. I feel for the guys on the team because they're making a huge effort. We've won a couple of races this year, and that's been good, but we've also had a huge run of first-round disasters that really hurt us.

"All we can do right now is just try to be as aggressive as we can be and go for race wins, which is what we always do. We need to go to each race like it's our last one and try to win.

"We're looking forward to hopefully running some low 4.70-second runs and contending for a win."

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Don Schumacher