Phoenix: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

Bazemore squeezed out of No. 1 for the second day at Firebird CHANDLER, Ariz. (March 6, 2004) - Talk about deja vu all over again. Here was Whit Bazemore, in the next-to-last pair of Funny Car final qualifying for the CSK NHRA Nationals at ...

Bazemore squeezed out of No. 1 for the second day at Firebird

CHANDLER, Ariz. (March 6, 2004) - Talk about deja vu all over again. Here was Whit Bazemore, in the next-to-last pair of Funny Car final qualifying for the CSK NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway, burning up the quarter-mile to take the No. 1 spot with a 4.782-second elapsed time at 322.34 mph, with one pair remaining.

If this sounds familiar, in last night's qualifying session, John Force snatched the "pole" from Bazemore by one thousandth of a second in the final pass, and this evening it was Force's teammate Gary Densham doing the same, but by one hundredth of a second with a 4.773/323.04.

"That's just how the game is," said the driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus, who is No. 2 for tomorrow's final eliminations. "It shows you how tough the sport is, how tough the class is, how tough that team is, and how tough our team is.

"We're right there and you really can't ask for a better set of qualifying runs than what we had, except to be low qualifier," he added. "The fact that we're going down the track and the Matco Tools Dodge is responding to Lee's (Beard, crew chief) input and tune-up and it's consistent means everything.

Bazemore's times/speeds in the four qualifying rounds were 4.927/310.98, 4.809/322.11, 5.098/226.70, 4.782/322.34.

"We feel good for tomorrow. Of course, it's NRHA drag racing, anything is possible. We saw that with (Jerry) Toliver's problems here, to win the first race and then come back here and not qualify. Also, that shows you that you do need a little bit of luck. You can be the best-prepared, have the best people and the best equipment, like we have over here, and you still need that little ingredient. And we have that; you make it.

"Tomorrow is a different day. We just have to go out there and race the way we know how to and race hard. We need to just turn on some win lights."

Bazemore, seventh in Funny Car points, will face Keith Jackson in the first round tomorrow, and will have the chance to meet his teammate Gary Scelzi in the semifinal round, if all goes as planned.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , John Force , Gary Densham , Keith Jackson