After breaking the track record in qualifying, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team had high hopes entering Sunday's final eliminations of the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals. As the top...
After breaking the track record in qualifying, Whit Bazemore and the Kendall Motor Oil/Matco Tools Camaro Z28 Racing Team had high hopes entering Sunday's final eliminations of the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals. As the top qualifier, Bazemore faced sixteenth seed Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round. The odds seemed to be in Bazemore's favor, as in addition to having the Etchells entry having lane choice, Johnson's team had struggled to get down the tricky Seattle International Raceway track throughout the first two days of the event. Racing in the left lane, Bazemore started his run by grabbing an advantage of almost five hundredths of a second at the starting line. However, just as it seemed Bazemore was about to power down track and advance to the next round, smoke billowed from his rear tires, indicating a loss of traction. Despite Bazemore's attempt to regain control, his opponent used his best elapsed time of the weekend to overcome Bazemore's lead and drive on for the win.
"It's just one of those overnight hero-to-zero stories. We didn't tune it up to try and run any better. We were simply trying to run what we knew we could, which was a low 5.0-second pass. Our car had shown no signs of smoking the tires up until that run, so it came as a complete surprise. But for some reason the car was too aggressive today, and we smoked the tires. What makes this loss so disappointing is that not only did we run well, but we had also been extremely consistent throughout qualifying.
"It's always disappointing to lose, but it's even harder when you expect to win, and now that our team is starting to perform up to its potential, any loss will be tough to take. Having said that, we're moving on. We have Sonoma next weekend, and we'll try to put our Kendall/Matco Camaro on the pole there, and have a little better luck on race day, and look for some great things during the rest of the season. Terry Manzer is doing an outstanding job. Today we simply got bit."