Phoenix: Schumacher Racing Saturday summary

Schumacher Racing Funny Cars make field in final Phoenix NHRA. WHIT BAZEMORE, MATCO TOOLS IRON EAGLE DODGE STRATUS R/T FUNNY CAR, led the Schumacher Racing Funny Car team after four qualifying rounds, placing No. 6 with a solid 4.853-second pass...

Schumacher Racing Funny Cars make field in final Phoenix NHRA.

WHIT BAZEMORE, MATCO TOOLS IRON EAGLE DODGE STRATUS R/T FUNNY CAR, led the Schumacher Racing Funny Car team after four qualifying rounds, placing No. 6 with a solid 4.853-second pass at 320.43 mph. His earlier lap, in the third qualifying session today, was less than stellar when he smoked the tires and slowed to a 9.391-second effort at 90.10 mph. The final qualifying round found him paired against his rival John Force. Admitting that his heart rate was up at the starting line, Bazemore handily bettered Force's 4.905/291.89 with the 4.853/320.43 pass.

"We struggled a little bit early yesterday and today, and the run today kind of put us behind a little bit, because we wanted to be in a position to go for the pole. But because we smoked the tires this morning we were forced to back off a little bit and just go down the track and try to run a mid-.80, which is what we did. We're pretty happy that the car responded exactly to Lee's (Beard, crew chief) tune-up, so we feel like we have a decent baseline for tomorrow. Ultimately, that's the most important thing." ON RUNNING AGAINST FORCE: "I said it on T.V., it makes your heart beat a little more. I've been really relaxed this weekend and my lights have been good every run, and I'm just really comfortable in the car, really comfortable with the entire situation here now and I'm not letting Force rattle my cage at all. It's really important for us to have a good day tomorrow. I think we're in a position to do that."

GARY SCELZI, OAKLEY TIME BOMB DODGE STRATUS R/T FUNNY CAR, and his crew chief Mike Neff continue to impress, posting four strong qualifying runs in two days (4.937/307.16, 4.861/319.98,4.879/314.24 and in the last session, 4.909/315.05). He ended up No. 7 qualifier, just behind teammate Bazemore, with the 4.861/319.98 pass from yesterday evening.

"We went down the race track every time. We were a little disappointed with the 4.90 run; we thought it was going to run quicker, but it looks like right now the supercharger was down on boost and it was sluggish when I hit the gas and it never really recovered the rest of the way down the race track. At least we know what it is, so we'll change superchargers for the first round tomorrow and hopefully bring it back to the way it was. The supercharger we ran earlier in the weekend needed to be restripped. We wanted to try this one to see how it was, and obviously it's not good after two runs. We will put in the one we ran the .80s with, run it for the weekend. If we have to restrip it, we'll restrip it between rounds. We're feeling pretty good. I think we were the only car to go down the race track four times in a row again, so we're pretty happy. If we can have a little luck tomorrow, it could be late when we're talking again."

SCOTTY CANNON, OAKLEY TIME BOMB FUNNY CAR, hung on to No. 16 qualifying position, scoring a 4.966-second run at 304.80 mph in the final qualifying round.

"I'm just happy we qualified, and that's it. We're going to try to get the car running better for the first round tomorrow, that's it."

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Mike Neff