BAZEMORE OPENS SEASON WITH SUCCESSFUL START AT POMONA POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore opened the 2007 season NHRA to rave revues from he peers and fans. While the 20-time NHRA Funny Car winner didn't collect his 21st career...
BAZEMORE OPENS SEASON WITH SUCCESSFUL START AT POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore opened the 2007 season NHRA to rave revues from he peers and fans. While the 20-time NHRA Funny Car winner didn't collect his 21st career "Wally" trophy, the veteran nitro pilot proved he can drive a Top Fuel dragster with the sport's best.
After qualifying his Matco Tools Iron Eagle dragster in the No. 7 position with a personal-best 4.507-second elapsed time, Bazemore was paired with veteran Top Fuel ace Cory McClenathan in the opening round of eliminations. The talented nitro pilots used nearly identical reaction times, and in a surprising pedal-fest race, Bazemore collected his first career Top Fuel round win. The Matco Tools rail clocked a tire-smoking time of 6.499 seconds to Cory Mac's 7.492-second effort.
"That one worked out in our favor," Bazemore said. "Cory (McClenathan) smoked them at the hit and we spun the tires further down track. I had yet to drive a Top Fuel car when it spins the tires. It's actually easier to drive when the tires are spinning. Normally, it turns so quick, I find myself thinking about not over steering. I do have to work on pedaling a little better."
In round two, the avid cyclist was pitted against teammate Rod Fuller and the Valvoline team. The two David Powers-owned cars put on a great show for the fans in attendance at Auto Club Raceway. In one of the closest races of the day, Bazemore was defeated by one hundredth of-a-second. The Matco Tools dragster clocked a performance of 4.561 seconds at 319.90 to Fuller's slightly quicker 4.557 at 323.27.
"It was a good drag race and we came up short," Bazemore said. "We were going against our teammate and (Rod) Fuller is an excellent driver. We got beat by one hundredth (of-a-second).
"What I found is that Top Fuel is very intense. It's intense in Funny Car too, but a lot of times your opponent beats himself because they're harder to drive. There's also a smaller tuning window in Funny Car. Dragsters go down the track more. So, the starting line plays a bigger role in Top Fuel. The cars are closer and more consistent and it comes down to the driver a lot of times. It's intense, which I like."
With 22 races remaining on the 2007 NHRA schedule, Bazemore sits sixth in the Top Fuel category. The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 23rd annual CSK Nationals, Feb. 23-25, at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz. Last February, Bazemore qualified his Matco Tools Funny Car in the No. 11 position and lost in the first round to Ron Capps at the Phoenix race.