Mopar Speed news 2005-04-18

Mopar Speed Monday, April 18, 2005 nhrafc Bazemore Triumphs at Vegas; Reclaims Points Lead It wasn't luck that put Team Mopar and Don Schumacher Racing's Whit Bazemore over the top this weekend at the NHRA Nationals at The...

Mopar Speed
Monday, April 18, 2005

Bazemore Triumphs at Vegas; Reclaims Points Lead

It wasn't luck that put Team Mopar and Don Schumacher Racing's Whit Bazemore over the top this weekend at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was skill.

Bazemore needed until the final round to qualify his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car in the 12th position, then showed his grit by overcoming lack of lane choice in the elimination rounds to power his way to his second victory of the season.

Bazemore defeated Tony Pedregon, Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon before dispatching Tony Bartone in the final round with a pass of 4.976/313.12 and a reaction time of .083 to Bartone's .116. With the win, Bazemore reclaimed the Funny Car points lead over defending champion John Force.

"It's unbelievable," said Bazemore, who in his last three NHRA POWERade Funny Car events has posted two wins and a quarterfinals appearance. "Today we had a car that could win rounds and we went rounds."

It didn't end at Bazemore. The entire Team Mopar and Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car roster ruled the roost at Vegas. Gary Scelzi qualified his Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T in the pole position, then advanced to the second round, moving up two spots to eighth in the points battle. Ron Capps also assembled an awesome outing, beating John Force in the first round, battling his way into the semifinals and moving up to sixth in the points race.

"We buckled down and went down the lane in the first round," said Capps of his win over Force. "Bazemore owes me dinner, I know that. It's kind of fun to dig down real deep like that for everybody on the team and do as good as we did."

"[Crew chief] Lee Beard and the Matco Tools guys did an unbelievable job to come back from the effort that we made Friday and Saturday. It didn't look like we were getting any results, but, man, it's a tough old game, as you know. I knew if we qualified that we had as good a chance as anybody."
    Whit Bazemore

Crawford Grabs Third Career Hot Rod Victory at Vegas

Mike Crawford powered his Mopar Dodge SRT4 to victory in the Nitto NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at the NHRA Nationals, defeating No. 1 qualifier Ron Lummus in the Hot Rod division final round.

Crawford qualified third with an ET of 8.859 and a speed of 167.55, then defeated Kenny Tran in the first round after Tran left the line too quick. In the final round, Lummus had a problem on the burnout, allowing Crawford to ease down the track for the victory. The showing gave Crawford and Darrell Cox Racing their third career Hot Rod win.

Scott Mohler, driving his Neon for Team Mopar and Mohler Motorsports, qualified in ninth position in the All Motor division with an ET of 11.175 and a speed of 124.65. His car suffered mechanical difficulties in the first round and was forced to retire.

Next up is the NHRA Sport Compact Spring Nationals in Englishtown, N.J., April 30-May 1.

Second-Straight Quarterfinals Finish for Coughlin at NHRA Nationals

Don Schumacher Racing and Team Mopar's Jeg Coughlin Jr., started his run at a fourth Las Vegas victory Sunday with a touch of perfection. Coughlin executed a perfect reaction time of .000 seconds at the starting line to leave well ahead of opening-round rival Jim Yates, who left with a .060-second launch. The three-time NHRA champion never looked back, zipping away to an easy 6.885 to 6.890-second victory.

Coughlin, currently ninth in the Pro Stock points race, also posted a better reaction time in the quarterfinals against Greg Anderson, but Coughlin's Dodge Stratus R/T spun its tires on take-off, zapping the momentum his powerful Hemi had gained for him and giving Anderson the win by a tenth of a second.

"We learned a bunch this weekend and we're pleased to have qualified so well," said Coughlin, who qualified his machine in the fourth position and posted his second straight quarterfinal finish. "We'll be ready to go at the next race and maybe we can put this old Dodge in the winner's circle."

Richie Stevens Jr., posted a near perfect reaction time (.001) driving his Team Mopar Hemi-powered Dodge Stratus R/T in his first round match, which also came against Anderson. It wasn't enough, as Stevens' pass of 6.940/200.92 fell short of Anderson's 6.889/200.92. Stevens held steady at 12th in the Pro Stock points battle.

Allen Johnson posted a best pass of 6.910/199.37 for the weekend, but it wasn't good enough to qualify him for the elimination rounds. Johnson remained in the top 10 of the points race, one spot ahead of Coughlin in eighth-place. Larry Morgan grabbed an impressive second place qualifying spot in his Hemi-powered Dodge Stratus R/T before bowing out in a tough first round defeat, while V. Gaines also used Hemi power to join Coughlin in the quarterfinals.

"I tried. I gave it all I could. It couldn't be any better than that, but we still came up on the wrong side. We're running good and we're getting both cars into the field. I just can't catch a break on Sunday to save our lives. I just need a little bit of luck, and I thought here in Vegas I would get some. Evidently not. We'll go to Bristol and hope for the best there."
    Richie Stevens Jr.

Hubinette Shines in Need For Speed Formula Drift Debut

Samuel Hubinette and the Mopar SRT10 Dodge Viper team made an impressive debut in the 2005 Need For Speed Formula Drift Championship over the weekend. The 2004 series champion laid down an impressive qualifying run, bringing the crowd to its feet as he grazed the guardrail with the tail of the Mopar SRT10 Dodge Viper. Hubinette gathered the car back up to continue in the run, concluding it with a rubber-burning smoke show on his Yokohama tires that brought the rim to flames. For his efforts, the judges awarded "The Crazy Swede" a 13th-place ranking after qualifying.

The DC Performance crew worked diligently to fix the back end of the Mopar machine, breaking out the 200 mph tape to correct the cracked bumper from Hubinette's brush with the wall. "The Snake" was ready to roll for the first round of eliminations, as Hubinette was to square off against Robbie Nishida.

Hubinette and Nishida put on a fantastic display of drifting action, but Nishida was able to angle underneath the Mopar SRT10 Dodge Viper on the second pass to earn the victory. Hubinette, ever the gracious competitor, heartily congratulated Nishida after the run.

"We're very pleased with the progress that we made over the weekend," remarked Hubinette. "With only a day of practice in the new Mopar Dodge Viper, I feel that we made a great attempt at this first event. We learned a lot about the car itself, and now we're going to take that knowledge and work to make improvements for Road Atlanta. As a whole, the DC Performance Mopar Dodge Viper team had a great first event, and we're looking forward to continuing on this season."

Hubinette and the DC Performance Mopar Dodge Viper team will return to action on May 6-7 at the prestigious Road Atlanta course.

Lasoski Grabs Heat Race Win at Tri-State Speedway

Danny Lasoski and the No. 20 team picked up a heat race win en route to a 17th-place finish at Tri-State Speedway in Indiana last Saturday. "The Dude" and company qualified 16th and won the third heat race over a fierce field to lock themselves into the A-main event.

Lasoski overcame a poor starting position to muscle the No. 20 machine through the field to finish 17th. "The Dude" also pulled double-duty over the weekend, as he competed in the IROC Race of Champions event at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday.

World of Outlaws Sprint Series "Rookie of the Year" contender Brandon Wimmer also picked up a Top-10 for Mopar, as he piloted the Wimmer-Luck Motorsports entry to a 10th-place finish in Saturday night's event.

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series will return to action this week at the Outlaw Motor Speedway in Oklahoma on April 22 and 81 Speedway in Kansas on April 23.

Francis Grabs a Top-Five in Late Model Competition

Steve Francis turned an off-weekend for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series into a productive one, as he racked up a Top-5 and a Top-10 finish in Midwestern late model competition. Francis and the No. 15 team made the tow to Farley Speedway in Farley, Iowa, on Friday to compete in the $6,000-to-win Open Late Model Shootout presented by Simmons Promotions. The team pieced together an eighth-place finish in the feature event after two flat tires slowed down their efforts.

Francis and the No. 15 team then moved on to Freeport Raceway Park in Freeport, Ill., on Saturday to compete in the WDRL "Fox 39 Spring Nationals." The "Kentucky Colonel" capped off his weekend by earning a fourth-place finish in the "Champion Auto Glass/Hooker Harness 40."

Francis and the World of Outlaws Late Model Series will return to action on April 29-30 at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania and Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland.


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About this article
Series NHRA , SCCA , World of Outlaws
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Richie Stevens Jr. , Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Cruz Pedregon , Danny Lasoski , Allen Johnson , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight , Steve Francis , Robbie Nishida , Samuel Hubinette