Las Vegas: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

Bazemore No. 1 qualifier in Vegas. Whit Bazemore, driving the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T, held on to the No. 1 qualifying spot, which he claimed in last night's session. He posted a 4.788-second elapsed time last night at 323.43 ...

Bazemore No. 1 qualifier in Vegas.

Whit Bazemore, driving the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T, held on to the No. 1 qualifying spot, which he claimed in last night's session. He posted a 4.788-second elapsed time last night at 323.43 mph, then bettered his top speed in today's final session to a 324.44 mph. He continues to hold the track record for elapsed time, a 4.748 which he set in 2001. His top speed record, however, was surpassed by Gary Densham yesterday when he ran 326.56 mph. In today's final session Densham came close to taking Whit's No. 1 spot away with a 4.796-second pass. However, Whit's final lap was a 4.794!

This is Whit's 22nd No. 1 career qualifying position and his second at The Strip.

BAZEMORE:

"We do feel strong, but tomorrow is a different day. Of course, we have to have consistency, which I think we have. We feel good, but we have to go out there and get the job done, which we're confident that we can do. It's still an NHRA drag race and that we know on Sunday anything can and will and usually does happen. This is just the first step to having a successful weekend."

YOU HAVE MORE CONSISTENCY THAN YOUR OTHER TEAM CARS. ARE YOU NOT SHARING?

"No. We are sharing. Scotty's (Cannon) team is different. They're more of a satellite team, for lack of a better word, but there's still communication there. They do their own thing. And then of course Mike Neff (Gary Scelzi's crew chief) works hand in hand with both Lee Beard and Dan Olson. They talk, they work out of the same room, three computer screens. Mike's car is going to run really well. It's trying to. It's a new team, and it's a learning process. It's unfortunate. It's one of those things. Ifs and shouldas and wouldas are not really in our vocabulary, but that car, had it gone down the track, would definitely be a top three or four qualified car, if not No. 1. It's either you have nothing or you have everything sort of situation right now."

ON TONY PEDREGON AND JOHN FORCE MEETING EACH OTHER IN THE FIRST ROUND:

"Are they? That's cool. Yeah, very glad. That's good; we always want to that happen. Especially now because Tony's obviously in a very strong position, while John isn't. it goes without saying that he will be, soon, at some point, so if he gets taken out that's great. And if Tony gets taken out, that's great too. I'm usually always rooting for the non-John person, but I think tomorrow I may have to root for John. That's hard to say. That hurts. Every since they took out that gall bladder, his car hasn't run very well. I don't know what that means but I'm going to make sure I keep mine."

ON LEE BEARD, COOL WEATHER AND HORSEPOWER:

"Lee is one to say that, because he makes a lot of horsepower. Our car has a lot of horsepower. Those conditions allow us to use it. We were a little weak in the heat in the summer. And that's what we really have to concentrate on. I think we've made big steps toward solving those problems and we'll see soon in May and June. These conditions for our team suit our car and if we have more of this tomorrow, it will just make it a little easier for us."

ARE YOU GOING IN KNOWING YOU HAVE A GOOD RACE CAR?

"The mental aspect for me personally doesn't really matter so much what the car's done. It matters what I'm doing and I how I feel about what I'm doing and right now I feel really good. I'm very confident. I feel good. But for the team having a good running car definitely makes it easier. It definitely gives you an advantage because the other guys are going to have to step up to outrun us. So, automatically, they have to be a little more aggressive, probably more than they want to be, and that probably plays into our favor. By no means are we in that situation, but when you're in a dominant car, as we have seen Force be other the years, other guys tend to make mistakes. And that's an ideal position to be in and that's what we're trying to do and we're not there yet. If you have a 10th on everybody the only way you lose then is when the driver makes a mistake."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GARY SCELZI NOT MAKING THE FIELD?

"It's disappointing. I feel bad not only for Gary but that team. They've worked awfully hard; they're a really a good bunch of guys. Racing is very hard. They've all been there before. We've all been there. We'll all be there again, there's no doubt. They're tough; they'll suck it up and come back stronger than ever, I'm sure. They're going to be a team that's going to win more than one race this year for sure. Mark my words on that. They're a team that we're going to have to contend with in order to win races. Right now it's hard and they want to be successful and they will be."

LEE BEARD , CREW CHIEF:

"The Matco Tools Dodge has considerably big horsepower and we enjoy these altitude tracks because it's hard to make power here, so it kind of comes into our hands. I was very impressed with the consistency of the car to run 4.78/323 one run, come back and run 4.79/324 the next run. That's what it's all about. We would be tickled to death if we could put together four great runs on race day and end up winning this thing."

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham