Pomona II: Whit Bazemore preview

Bazemore going for strong season finish in Pomona POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 10, 2004) - Going into the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals this weekend, Whit Bazemore's goal is no different than it has ever been at any race he's...

Bazemore going for strong season finish in Pomona

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 10, 2004) - Going into the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals this weekend, Whit Bazemore's goal is no different than it has ever been at any race he's entered - to win! He's won two events this season so far driving the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car, led the point standings in the first half, extended his lead, went to five final rounds and battled for the championship among a group of top-caliber drivers.

Following the NHRA rules changes mid-season, which included lowering the nitromethane mixture to 85 percent from 90 and mandating the use of a new tire, Bazemore and crew chief Lee Beard struggled to adapt to these changes and stay on top in the last half of the year. Two weeks ago, in Las Vegas, the two-time U.S. Nationals champion who was in the midst of a five-car battle for second place in points dropped to sixth in the rankings.

Winning here in Pomona now tops the list for the Indianapolis resident and could move him up to fourth in the final standings. He is 22 points behind fourth-place Gary Densham and 16 behind Eric Medlen in fifth. Del Worsham and Gary Scelzi are tied in second place and are the only two battling for that position.

"It's been a tough year, so it's obviously very important to finish the year on the highest note as possible, and that means winning the race," Bazemore said.

"The past few races have been tough on us," he said, "but we have a team that is competitive and capable and we're very hungry and motivated to win the last race of the year. We want to go into the off season feeling the best we can about the job we did. It's a very important race."

A high point for Bazemore this weekend is the opportunity to help the family of Darrell Russell, who lost his life in a crash in St. Louis this year, in an auction to be held on Saturday by contributing some of his past work as a professional photographer.

"The Darrell Russell auction is a great thing that Larry Dixon and his wife Ali put together to benefit Julie Russell. I am very excited about contributing," he said.

"I went back through some of my photography of 21 years ago to see what would be interesting to print. It was a whole different life for me back then, so it's stuff I've kind of buried in my past and haven't even acknowledged in 20 years, really.

"I thought it would be kind of cool to donate some prints so I printed two portraits from 1983 that I found, one of Shirley Muldowney in her helmet waiting to make a run in her car which I really like, and one of Don Prudhomme which I really like as well.

"I made some big prints, one each, and framed them. So they're originals and they're like one of five. I haven't printed the other four yet. I probably will and I will probably give Don and Shirley one and probably Larry Dixon. I hope the subject matter will be interesting to a bidder, who will find it valuable and buy it, which will help benefit Julie Russell."

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Larry Dixon , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Don Prudhomme , Eric Medlen