Phoenix: Whit Bazemore final summary

BAZEMORE ON HIS GAME, ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND IN PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 27, 2005) - Whit Bazemore was on his game in the first round of Funny Car eliminations at the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals, when he sent the defending event ...

BAZEMORE ON HIS GAME, ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND IN PHOENIX

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 27, 2005) - Whit Bazemore was on his game in the first round of Funny Car eliminations at the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals, when he sent the defending event champion and No. 3 qualifier Del Worsham home packing. In a tight wire-to-wire contest down the quarter-mile, Bazemore, who qualified 14th, nosed his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus across the line .0132 of a second ahead of Worsham with a 4.870-second elapsed time at 318.54 mph to Worsham's losing 4.876/318.69. Bazemore's reaction time of .078 outdid Worsham's .085.

Bazemore won the round but lost lane choice in his match-up against Worsham's teammate Phil Burkart Jr. in the quarterfinal. That made little difference, however, as the Matco Tools Dodge instantly veered to the right at the hit of the throttle, as the right-side cylinders self-destructed. Bazemore slowed to a 9.904-second crawl at 72.85 mph, while Burkart struck the tires, yet claimed the win with a 5.534/195.53.

"We broke something in the engine," said Bazemore. "At three-tenths of a second something broke and the engine basically quit firing on the right side, so it was a 4-cylinder Hemi. It just wasn't our day to win. It's something in the ignition. We'll figure it out, but it's definitely got a problem.

"The first round was exciting," he added. "We've got some good teammates over here, Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi, and they're awfully good. Capps was low in reaction-time average last year, I was second. Scelzi's got three (Top Fuel championship) rings weighing down his hand. My goal is to be the best driver at Schumacher Racing. That's awfully hard, because those guys are so good. To get a close win the second week in a row like that is great," he said, alluding also to his second-round win against Tony Pedregon at Pomona, "but, at the end of the day it's just your job. It's my job and we do what we do. Our lights (reaction times) are what they are. They're decent, they're not the best, but they're very, very consistent and that's the name of the game.

"It's just unfortunate we couldn't take advantage of that and the weakness that the Phil Burkart team had against us. That was frustrating."

Capps reached the final round today, but lost to John Force.

In points, Bazemore ended the day fifth in the POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points, with 124.

Next up is the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., March 18-20.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Phil Burkart