Las Vegas II: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

Bazemore Powers to No. 4 in Vegas Qualifying LAS VEGAS (Oct. 30, 2004) - Whit Bazemore's final qualifying pass of 4.772 seconds at 326.95 mph topped off four consecutively quicker qualifying rounds, placing the driver of the Matco Tools Iron...

Bazemore Powers to No. 4 in Vegas Qualifying

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 30, 2004) - Whit Bazemore's final qualifying pass of 4.772 seconds at 326.95 mph topped off four consecutively quicker qualifying rounds, placing the driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus No. 4 in the Funny Car field for tomorrow's 22nd of 23 rounds of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Bazemore posted a 4.893/309.91 pass in the first round, followed by a 4.864/315.86 and a 4.841/318.77, before his stellar 4.7-second lap in the last session.

"It's a case this weekend of making continuous progress with the race car," he said. "(Crew chief) Lee (Beard) and the entire Schumacher Racing organization (including Gary Scelzi's crew chief Mike Neff, Tony Schumacher's crew chief Alan Johnson and Johnny Gray's crew chief Dan Olson) kind of banded together and worked to help all the cars run, and the result is we have three cars qualified - two really strongly and one that's been doing a lot of testing on new things. Johnny Gray and his team are not quite on the pace, but they're working on different things for next year. Scelzi qualified No. 5, Gray No. 11.

"So far it's been a really good weekend and the Matco Tools Dodge has responded to Lee's changes and things are coming around. He's had to make some pretty big steps between yesterday and today to get the performance that we wanted. We feel good so far."

The top nine cars in the 16-car field ran laps in the 4.7-second range. "It's really tight at the top and it shows you how competitive it is," said Bazemore, whose goal is to end this season second in points. "The last run was everything for us. The first couple of runs were all good baseline runs and opportunities to learn and make changes, but the car didn't come around really the right way until the last run. Conditions were good and it responded. We're back in a position where we feel more confident with the car and what we're doing with it."

Bazemore will face Cruz Pedregon in the first round of eliminations tomorrow, which begin at 11 a.m.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Cruz Pedregon , Johnny Gray , Mike Neff