Bazemore Races To Semifinals At Phoenix CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore achieved another first in his brief Top Fuel career Sunday at Firebird International Raceway as he advanced to the semifinals of the 23rd annual ...
Bazemore Races To Semifinals At Phoenix
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore achieved another first in his brief Top Fuel career Sunday at Firebird International Raceway as he advanced to the semifinals of the 23rd annual CSK Nationals. Following two of 23 races on the 2007 NHRA schedule, the 20-time NHRA winner ranks fourth in the POWERade Top Fuel standings.
The veteran nitro pilot qualified his Matco Tools dragster in the No. 6 position with a 4.507 second elapsed time and defeated Hillary Will in the opening round of eliminations. He then edged energetic Top Fuel racer Clay Millican before falling to teammate Rod Fuller in the semifinals.
In his first round match-up against the second-year Top Fuel starlet, Bazemore used a Lee Beard tune-up to score the round wind. As the third pair of dragsters to battle the tricky F.I.R quarter mile, the drivers used nearly identical reaction times, but it was the Beard tune-up that made the difference. Bazemore powered the Matco Tools rail to a pass of 4.513 seconds at 326.95 mph to score the car-length victory over Will and her 4.589-second elapsed time.
The Indianapolis racer advanced to his first career Top Fuel semifinal by besting fellow Matco Tools racer Millican in the quarterfinals. The Matco Tools Iron Eagle team caught a break as Millican's dragster had mechanical problems near the finish line. Bazemore powered to a solid 4.58 at 321.73 to drive around Millican's bright blue dragster, which recorded a run of 4.650 seconds after jumping to an early lead. It marked the fifth time that Bazemore has advanced to the semifinals at the Phoenix race.
Facing his teammate for the second straight race, both the Matco Tools and Valvoline dragsters put on a great show for the fans in the Valley of the Sun. Bazemore's dragster was on a solid pass until the tires came loose mid-track causing the veteran racer to slow to a run of 4.808 at 246.66. Fuller cruised to a performance of 4.525 at 326.87 to advance to the final round at F.I.R. for the second straight year. Fuller went on to claim his fourth career NHRA Top Fuel victory and second straight win at the Phoenix track.
"The team continues to work really hard," Bazemore said. "We had a lucky day, but we'll take it. Clay (Millican) had us beat in the second round. I'd rather earn them than be lucky. Like I keep saying, we've got a great team with huge potential. I think we're going to realize our full potential really soon just like our teammate has."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 38th annual ACDelco Gatornationals, March 15-18, at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla. Last season, Bazemore qualified second at the Gainesville race. He won at Gainesville Raceway in 2005 defeating Bob Gilbertson in the final round.