Bazemore Grabs His Second Straight No. 1 in Memphis MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2004) - Whit Bazemore, defending Funny Car champion here at Memphis Motorsports Park, grabbed his second straight No. 1 qualifying position for this event, his fourth...
Bazemore Grabs His Second Straight No. 1 in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2004) - Whit Bazemore, defending Funny Car champion here at Memphis Motorsports Park, grabbed his second straight No. 1 qualifying position for this event, his fourth of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, and the 28th of his career, with a 4.856-second pass at 306.26 mph.
Driving the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus, Bazemore, who held No. 1 since the first qualifying session, had only Gary Densham in the other lane in the final pass of the last session who could out-qualify him. Bazemore's teammate Gary Scelzi had already posted a 4.863-second ET for second place, Tim Wilkerson came up with a 4.874 for fourth, Tony Pedregon a 4.892, and John Force was in seventh with a 4.899.
It was close, but while Force's teammate Densham roared to a 4.866-second pass at 308.99 mph, Bazemore beside him bettered his own pole-sitting ET set last night of 4.862/309.77 with the 4.856.
"We knew we could have run quicker," he said. "In fact, we had a mechanical failure just before the finish line. The burst panel blew out so we lost all blower boost, so it was close. Our win light came on and we were coasting and I heard Densham 'brrrp' right there. And it was like Oh, man. But I thought, OK, as long as we get to the other end first, no matter what he does, we should go quicker. Who would've known it would have been that close.
"But they're a great team and it's tough when people are taking shots. We know who's capable of doing it. Force certainly is, Scelzi is right there. As long as we were in the top three or four it would have been a good night for us. But the fact that we stayed No. 1 is icing on the cake.
"It's nice to come and run well and not just be No. 1 qualifier but be competitive," added the two-time U.S. Nationals champion, "which our Matco Tools team always is. To really fight it out for the No. 1 qualifying award is an honor.
"It's also a credit to the team and the hard work that they've done trying to rebound from our mini-slump this summer," he said of his six early-round losses in the last seven events.
Bazemore faces Ron Capps in the first round of eliminations on Sunday for the fifth time this season.