BAZEMORE MAKES FIRST-ROUND EXIT IN POMONA POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2005) - Whit Bazemore was more than ready to be the spoiler in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship today, as he faced off against third in points John...
BAZEMORE MAKES FIRST-ROUND EXIT IN POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2005) - Whit Bazemore was more than ready to be the spoiler in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship today, as he faced off against third in points John Force in the opening stanza of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals.
If he were to beat the 13-time champion, he would have opened the door for his teammates, points leader Gary Scelzi and No. 2 in the standings Ron Capps, to battle it out between themselves for the remainder of the event, as Both Capps and Scelzi had advanced to the second round.
Bazemore's perennial rival took off at the light with the slightest edge (.057 to .068 - .000 is perfect), but the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T lit the tires almost immediately and made a sharp move to the right, resulting in a disqualification when it crossed the centerline.
Force's car also moved to the left and brushed the centerline, but he was awarded the win with a 4.790-second elapsed time at 315.34.
"It wasn't what we expected at all," said a disappointed Bazemore. "Everyone on the Matco Tools team, we were really fired up today and I can't tell you how much I wanted to win that round. This year we took away from our teammates' ability to win the championship a couple of times and today I wanted to give it back to them by beating Force.
"The car smoked the tires twice. We pedaled it and Force's team went down the track and that's it.
"Our car just took a violent right turn out there. There's something really wrong with that chassis. I don't know what it is. We came here without having tested it since it's been front-halved from Murf McKinney (chassis shop).
"In the future, we'll never do that again, run an untested chassis, ever. We were lucky to qualify, quite honestly. In the very first run after 150 feet it turned hard left and we fought it the whole way and we were very, very fortunate that we didn't smoke the tires then.
"And last night it did the exact same thing, only, when we corrected it, it unloaded the rear a little bit and it made us smoke the tires. So when you're on the limit, you can't have a car that you have to drive that hard. It just doesn't work in this sport.
"We're going to have a new car next year. That's going to help. We're going to have to really assess our performance this year and all aspects of it; assess it and do what we have to do to get ourselves on the same level as our teammates."
As it turned out, all three title contenders (Scelzi, Capps, Force) were eliminated in the second round, giving Gary Scelzi his first Funny Car championship today.
Bazemore ends the 2005 season ninth in points, with two wins in two final rounds, one No. 1 qualifier, and a 23-20 round win-loss record. He has 19 career wins in 43 final rounds and a career 319-278 round win-loss record.