Schumacher Racing Firebird time trials notes

Bazemore tops e.t. and mph charts at NHRA time trials at Firebird. Schumacher Racing debuted two new Dodge Stratus-bodied Funny Cars this weekend at the three-day 2003 NHRA Time Trials at Firebird Raceway, with positive results. Whit Bazemore,...

Bazemore tops e.t. and mph charts at NHRA time trials at Firebird.

Schumacher Racing debuted two new Dodge Stratus-bodied Funny Cars this weekend at the three-day 2003 NHRA Time Trials at Firebird Raceway, with positive results. Whit Bazemore, in the Matco Tools-sponsored entry, topped the Funny Car elapsed time and top speed charts for the weekend with a 4.820-second pass at 320.89 mph, posted on Saturday. That pass was the first of four strong runs for Bazemore's new body and chassis, followed by a 4.88/319.00 on Saturday, and a 4.90/320.60 and 4.85/317.84 on Sunday.

Gary Scelzi, driving the Oakley-sponsored Dodge Stratus, posted his best of eight runs Sunday evening, a 4.85-second lap at 315.64 mph, a personal best for him in a Funny Car.

WHIT BAZEMORE, MATCO TOOLS DODGE STRATUS FUNNY CAR: "We've had a good three days, with the new car and the new body and things are different, obviously, with the Dodge. We've had a really positive three days. We've made really good progress and we have low e.t. and top speed. That's important, but what's more important is we have been very consistent. And we've been conservative with the tune-up. So far we haven't even really explored our true potential on this race track. That's very positive. We're going to stay here all week in Phoenix and tomorrow we're going to start working on some new technology that we have that will, hopefully, increase our performance a little bit more and give us even more consistency and make it easier for Lee (Beard, crew chief) and Dan (Olson, co-crew chief on Bazemore's and Scelzi's cars) and everybody else on the team to tune the car."

LEE BEARD, CREW CHIEF, MATCO TOOLS DODGE STRATUS FUNNY CAR: "I think, obviously, from the spectator's point of view the biggest change you see in Schumacher Racing is running the new Dodge Stratus body. A great of deal of effort has gone into that body. Chrysler has some extremely intelligent engineers that worked on that project in developing that body. Our team acquired one right after the last race and got it mounted and tinned. I have such a great, dedicated team that we were up in Ottawa, Canada, the day before Thanksgiving running the thing in the wind tunnel and a couple of my guys that didn't fly home, who drove the transporters, were traveling on Thanksgiving Day. And that shows you how dedicated the team is. We try to look at every detail in the race operation and we do believe there are good rewards in aerodynamics. So we did put a lot of effort into the aerodynamic end of our project, which is the Dodge Stratus body. This is a brand new chassis, it's not the chassis that we ran last year and it's performing well. We're comfortable with it. To come here and make four very consistent back-to-back runs shows that we're in the ballpark. We're not going to get cocky and say that, Gee, we're ready to go race, we're ready to beat John Force for the championship, but we feel that we're comfortable and we're on target as far as our schedule of testing goes."

GARY SCELZI, OAKLEY DODGE STRATUS: "This lap was my personal best. With Zippy (Mike Neff) being the crew chief we ran an .86 at the end of the year last year after Pomona when I first drove the Oakley Funny Car, so today we had a little shake and then we had the next run, where I felt the car get a little bit loose at half track and I shut it off. And we came back tonight and ran a pretty good run, an .85 at 315. We're pretty pleased with that. That's a good one to sleep on. It's different looking out of the new Dodge. It's like you sit further back because the dash area is further forward. But the visibility is good and the car is really stable on the top end. It doesn't want to drift around a lot. So, it's a whole new ballgame for me. I made a couple of runs in last year's car (last year) and then we came back and we have the Dodges now and it's a whole different feeling. I like the feeling; it's stable. It's a great sense of security. It's a great beginning. Now we're going to test here this week. We've got a great foundation, and we'll start tomorrow and run possibly Wednesday and Thursday. We're going to run here most of the week, trying different things, get me more seat time, get me more comfortable and get everybody used to working together and see what happens."

After three days of testing, Scotty Cannon, driving last year's Oakley Funny Car, will continue testing here this week: "We're fighting a gremlin. It has nothing to do with the tune-up. The effort for the next four days will be going back to the basics that (crew chief) Phil Schuler and I know work and try to get it down the track."

-sr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Scotty Cannon , Mike Neff