BAZEMORE MAKES IT INTO FIELD IN FINAL QUALIFYING ROUND IN VEGAS LAS VEGAS (April 16, 2005) - Whit Bazemore and the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car team breathed a sigh of relief following the final qualifying session today, as the...
BAZEMORE MAKES IT INTO FIELD IN FINAL QUALIFYING ROUND IN VEGAS
LAS VEGAS (April 16, 2005) - Whit Bazemore and the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car team breathed a sigh of relief following the final qualifying session today, as the driver who is No. 2 in Funny Car points finally qualified into the field after struggling through the first three rounds.
Bazemore ran side-by-side with this teammate Ron Capps, who was also not qualified, in a close "race" to the finish, and qualified No. 12 with a 4.951/315.64 to Capps' 4.989/304.87. Capps moved to No. 15. Both hugged at the top end.
"That was a huge sigh of relief," said Bazemore to the track announcer. "You drive for Don Schumacher; there are a lot of things expected of you. We're hired drivers, we're not family down here, so we've got to perform every single time and it's tough.
"For Lee Beard, the Matco Tools guys and actually the Brut guys and Capps, we were under the gun, Man, but it all came through.
"It feels wonderful," he said back in the pits. "It was some pressure, there is no question. It's a double-edged sword where we are. We are second in points, we won a race - the Gatornationals - and we've done all that with a car that we're struggling with to get it to perform consistently where we want it to be.
"The good news is that in spite of those problems we've had some success this year. The bad news is that those problems caused us a lot of heartache and gray hair.
"It was just one of those days. On one hand it's why we race. I love it , personally. But it's hard on everybody. [Going to the final session to qualify] is not fun, really. At the end of the day you go Phew! We made it. We did make it and the guys do a perfect job and the Matco Tools Dodge is perfect mechanically, so we don't have to worry about anything stupid biting us. And we went right down the race track like we knew what we were doing.
"I congratulated Ron. We congratulated each other. They're just like we are. They're struggling and not performing up to their own potential yet, but they're a new team and neither one of us have any excuses. We're going to both make it happen and the good thing about this race tomorrow with the (hot) conditions we have it's anybody's drag race.
"We have our one basline run. Lee is very confident we can tune off of that . We'll be in with a shout tomorrow.
Bazemore faces Tony Pedregon in first round of eliminations on Sunday.