Baze No. 1 on Fri. in Memphis MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 19, 2003) - After he did not make the field in the first qualifying session, the weather cooled down for the evening round and Whit Bazemore put his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus on the...
Baze No. 1 on Fri. in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 19, 2003) - After he did not make the field in the first qualifying session, the weather cooled down for the evening round and Whit Bazemore put his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus on the Funny Car pole with a 4.826-second elapsed time at 316.67 mph.
In the next pair John Force also posted a 4.826-second pass, but his slower speed of 313.27 relegated him into second place.
In the pair just before Bazemore's pass, his teammate Gary Scelzi posted a track record speed of 322.42 mph, ending up third with a 4.837-second lap.
"We went into that session not qualified. We actually had to play it conservatively and just try to go down the race track," said Bazemore. "The performance was there; it was really good. Our teammate made an outstanding run just in front of us.
"It reinforced in our minds that the track was probably pretty good. And we were able to just keep our tune-up the same. If they had smoked the tires then we would have been concerned that we may have been on course to do the same thing. It worked out."
Track records were broken in both elapsed time and top speed this evening in every category (Top Fuel, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Bike) except Funny Car, in which only the top speed record was set. "In this sport the weather plays a very important role in any kind of performance that we have," said Bazemore. "The fact that today was overcast and a lot cooler than normal for here this time of year really played in our favor. When the track is cooler we get much better traction, and therefore we're able to be way more aggressive with the tune-up on the car. The cool conditions and the good atmosphere conditions enable us to make more horsepower. So it kind of goes hand in hand.
"It was prime conditions for track records," he added.
Qualifying ahead of his rival for the championship Tony Pedregon is also important, he said. "As far as the championship goes we don't have anything to lose. We're going for it and even being No. 1 qualifier ahead of Tony Pedregon is very important in order to get those extra points. Hopefully we'll still be ahead of him tomorrow. The same goes for Force, who's in third. Every single point counts and at this point of the game we have to count every single point."