Seattle: Cmaro Z28 qualifying report

FUNNY CAR: BAZEMORE NO. 1 FOR SECOND STRAIGHT RACE WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 1 qualifier for the second straight event (the eighth time in his career), with a track record pass of 4.875 seconds at 306.81 mph, ...

FUNNY CAR: BAZEMORE NO. 1 FOR SECOND STRAIGHT RACE

WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 1 qualifier for the second straight event (the eighth time in his career), with a track record pass of 4.875 seconds at 306.81 mph, posted in last night's qualifying session. His two passes today were also strong: a 5.02 (lowest of that session) and a 5.01 (second lowest of the final session). Whit is clearly on a hot streak mid-season.

BAZEMORE: AFTER LAST NIGHT'S QUALIFYING: "To get that result is obviously a tremendous effort by the Kendall/Matco Camaro team. But that run was far from perfect for a number of reasons. First, in the late afternoon here, the sun comes right into your face. With the way these cars are, you can't see very well out the front under those conditions, making it very hard to pick out the groove, the wall or the cones. In addition, this is a very challenging track, particularly in the right lane, which makes it very important to stay in the groove, which, as I explained, I couldn't really see. So, naturally, you also have to be a little lucky."

ON TRACK CONDITIONS TODAY: "They're pretty tough. The track is very challenging, to say the least. The first part is really good even in the heat. We had high heat today, but the concrete pad is awesome, but then down track you saw a lot of cars smoke the tires and that's what you are going to get because the bumps unload the car and these cars are designed for billiard-table-smooth surfaces. But it's the same for everybody. Provided you have lane choice you are in good shape. The left lane is worse than the right. Lane choice is critical tomorrow. If you don't have the tune-up for these conditions you are going to be in trouble. It's going to be a crapshoot. You are going to have to make a lucky guess. Our Camaro team obviously is there. Providing nothing bad happens -- you don't make a mistake or you don't have bad luck -- we should be right there."

ON THE WEST COAST SWING:  "These three races, Denver, here and then
Sonoma, are all pretty tough.  Sonoma is tough because it's really hot
there, the track temperature gets pretty hot.  It's hard to get hooked up
there as well.  They're the most challenging on the circuit."

RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, is No. 11 qualifier, 5.086/286.92, clocked in the first qualifying session. The ensuing sessions ended in aborted runs.

CAPPS: "Obviously we were pretty happy with the 5.08 on Friday in the opening session. We tried a few things since that run to jump up in the field. All it showed us is that the clutch has been real inconsistent this weekend so far. Right now we are trying to go back to what Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) knows and to what we used to run with the clutch. It's unfortunate we don't have lane choice in the first round. We're pretty confident we can go down the left lane, but I'm sure the right lane will be the lane of choice tomorrow. There are a few bumps in the left lane."

SCOTTY CANNON qualified 12th in his CAMARO Z28, 5.112/276.46; JIM EPLER, WWF RACING CAMARO Z28, ended up 13th, 5.119/285.29; BOB GILBERTSON, TRICK TANK CAMARO Z28 is a DNQ.

PRO STOCK: KJ QUALIFIES SECOND; HAMMONDS MISSES THE CUT

Defending event titlist KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, ran his quick time on Friday evening, a 6.915 at 199.61 mph. He was 26th on the qualifying list going into that session after encountering such severe tire shake on his first run that the parachute deployed at mid-track. Kurt qualified No. 2 last year as well.

KURT: "We're walking a fine line this weekend. We need to be conservative and come up with a setup that we know will go down the track. At the same time, we've got to pick up the pace if we want to win this race again. We left two or three hundredths (of a second) on the table. My 60-foot time was 1.04, but other cars were able to run 1.01. If we could get the e.t. that we're missing, we'd be in great shape, but I know that it's tough to have a setup that's perfect for every part of the track. We're going to try to squeeze another hundredth out of the elapsed time and make a gear ratio change to calm down the car. At this point my goal is just to keep making runs without shaking the tires."

Although the recorded the session's sixth or seventh quickest Pro Stock elapsed time in the final session, TOM HAMMONDS, WINNEBAGO, GM PERFORMANCE PARTS CAMARO Z28, failed to qualify with his 6.979/197.62 pass. This is the seventh of the 13 events Hammonds elected to contest this season after his NBA team, the Minnesota T-wolves, was eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs. He has yet to qualify, although his team has demonstrated progress in every event. In yesterday's first session his Camaro lost a vacuum pump. In the second "we just totally miscalculated the setup," he said. The car got out of shape and Tom had to abort the run. In today's first session he ran a 6.98 in the heat of the day. And, although he improved in the final session, it was not good enough to make the field. He found time to smile, however, despite the disappointment.

HAMMONDS: "If you can't laugh you might as well not be out here because sometimes it's just funny. We go out and we make two pretty good runs today, but it's the same story: we just didn't do it at the right time. It's encouraging going to Sonoma knowing that we ran pretty well in the hot conditions. And we're pretty sure it's going to be the same in Sonoma. That gives us a little hope going into the next race. As few positives as there are in this sport, the few you get you have got to smile about and go on. Because this sport will beat you up just like pro basketball will. I haven't been around for 12 years (in NBA competition) for nothing. I plan to be around in Pro Stock racing a lot longer" ON THE SEASON SO FAR: "I know we had a lot of expectations coming into this year. I don't think we met those expectations, but at the same time we have learned as a team. I'm just very fortunate to have people behind me like Winnebago, GM Performance Parts, Chevrolet, Mac Tools and American Racing. Quality sponsors like that understand that we are going to have some missteps here and there. But as long as we stay together as a team we definitely intend to be winning in the future. We still have five more races to go. I think once we cure our qualifying bug there's a chance we could win a race. And that would be for me like winning an NBA championship."

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