Bazemore returns to Reading after two adventurous races READING, Pa. (Oct. 3, 2003) - When Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car driver Whit Bazemore left the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Sept. 14 after the event was rained out, he was...
Bazemore returns to Reading after two adventurous races
READING, Pa. (Oct. 3, 2003) - When Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car driver Whit Bazemore left the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Sept. 14 after the event was rained out, he was 57 points behind NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car leader Tony Pedregon. Only two events have been held since the series' return to Maple Grove Raceway this weekend to complete that event.
And what adventurous races they were. In Memphis the following weekend, Bazemore was low qualifier and walked away with his 15th career victory, his third of the season. He benefited from Pedregon's early-round loss and took over the points lead by seven points. He then headed to Route 66 Raceway for the following week's event, where he recorded his second straight No. 1 qualifying position, his third of the year and 24th of his career by bettering his career-best elapsed time with a 4.725-second pass. He hen lost in the first round when his car got out of the groove.
Pedregon went on to win the event after meeting his two teammates (Gary Densham and John Force) in the second and third rounds and benefited from Phil Burkart's breakdown at the starting line in the final round to retake the lead by 69 points.
It was a frustrating turn of events for Bazemore, who is seeking his first Funny Car championship, but the Indianapolis resident is geared up to do what it takes to get back up to the front. "It's a lot different now coming back to Reading," he says. "We've won our 15th race. We ran well in Chicago. We learned something there and I think we're going to apply what we learned in Chicago to Reading. Reading should have very similar conditions to what we just had in Chicago.
"I think our Matco Tools Dodge team is capable of running mid- to low 4.70s every run. I think if we do that we're going to be hard to beat. But we're going to have to work for it. There are still four races left. We're awfully close. We're just going to draft. We're right in the draft, so things are good.
"We're as determined and focused as ever," he adds.
Bazemore is qualified No. 14 after one round of qualifying in Reading the last time around. Two more qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 4, with final eliminations scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 5.