With a forecast of rain threatening the evening qualifying session, Whit Bazemore knew that his first attempt at Friday's Moto1.net NHRA Nationals was of critical importance. After all, a good run would eliminate any concern about the inclement...
With a forecast of rain threatening the evening qualifying session, Whit Bazemore knew that his first attempt at Friday's Moto1.net NHRA Nationals was of critical importance. After all, a good run would eliminate any concern about the inclement weather, and allow the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team to start working on their race day set-up. Bazemore's challenge was further complicated by the fact that he had been assigned the less-preferred left lane for his first run. Even so, Bazemore powered through the quarter-mile in 4.954 seconds with a top speed of 304.80 mph, temporarily placing him 2nd, with the only run that was quicker coming in the right lane. However, despite the impressive numbers, the run was not as routine as it seems.
"The Kendall/Matco Camaro was perfect until half track. The groove was about as wide as my car, and fortunately, easy to see. Around 300 to 400 feet into the run, I noticed we were exactly in the groove. Since it had moved around a little when it left the starting line, I thought we were really in good shape. But when we hit the bumps, it broke the back end loose, and the way the crown of the track is, it swings you towards the wall, and you start spinning the tires. Even so, we were able to run a .95 in the bad lane. To be honest, if we had the exact identical set up in the right lane, we might have been able to grab the top spot. After all a smooth track is worth at least a couple of hundredths.
"It was really good to get that run in. Not only did we show that we could run well on the bad side, but unless things change drastically, we should have lane choice for the first round on Sunday. At a one-lane track such as this one, that is critical. The left lane here is a problem, because it has some of the worst bumps we encounter on the entire circuit. They make it hard for the tuners to set the car up, and just as difficult for the drivers to run through.
"But we were going to go down the track no matter what happened, even if we had to pedal it five or six times. We knew it would be important to record a time, because the forecast is questionable for the next two days. To be among the top three qualifiers is good, but we still have to concentrate on Sunday (final eliminations), because that's the most important day. Today was only step one."