BAZEMORE WINS HIS FIRST FUNNY CAR TITLE OF SEASON IN SEATTLE KENT, Wash. (July 23, 2006) - Whit Bazemore won his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car national event of the season today at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at ...
BAZEMORE WINS HIS FIRST FUNNY CAR TITLE OF SEASON IN SEATTLE
KENT, Wash. (July 23, 2006) - Whit Bazemore won his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car national event of the season today at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways, the 20th of his career, and ended the drought since his last win at Las Vegas 1 in 2005.
It was also the first victory for tuner Todd Okuhara as a crew chief.
Driving the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Bazemore faced off against his teammate and points leader Ron Capps in that round, scoring a solid victory with a 5.036-second elapsed time at 309.42 mph to Capps' 5.108/293.15.
Bazemore's goal was to "leave" on Capps, and he accomplished that by launching off the starting line with a .060 of-a-second reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Capps' .092.
The two-time U.S. Nationals champion and two-time Seattle winner defeated Phil Burkart Jr. in the opening round with a 4.994/310.20, Tony Bartone in the second round with a 5.033/306.60, then Tony Pedregon in the semis with a 5.029/307.30.
"It's a great day," he said. "Just to get back in the winner's circle feels so good. Especially for the team. It really is a team sport and to suffer like we have, to be less than perfect and for the team to basically rebuild itself over the past two or three months and to come out and run well and still not get the results - which has been the case for the last four or five races - to finally get the result is a great feeling. And well deserved for the guys on the team.
"We obviously know what it takes to win and be successful out here and we have all that. The Matco Tools sponsorship is huge. Don Schumacher's team has lot of technology and talent. So, there are no excuses, and that's how we like to race.
"With Don Schumacher there are no excuses not to be successful. So, sooner or later the pressure starts to pile up on everybody. Matco Tools wants a winning car, Don wants a winning car, I certainly want a winning car, and all the guys want a winning car. So it's just a matter of persevering and focusing and making things happen.
"When you have a (losing) streak like we had, you just have to suck it up. You know what it takes, you know you can do it, you know you have everything, you know you have the people behind you. It's just a matter of trying to be perfect on race day in the car, controlling what you can control, and staying very positive, and that's what our team did.
"Everyone on the team controlled what they had to control perfectly. And when you do that you're in the winner's circle."
As for running against his teammate: "It is fun and it's a challenge. They're a great team. They're leading the points by quite a margin. I don't know if they're leading by quite a margin," Bazemore laughed, "but they're leading over us by quite a margin and that's what I look at. They've had a great, great season. Capps is on his game, he's a great driver.
"My goal was to leave on him and drive the car as perfectly as I could and let the rest take care of itself. And it did.
"We're very motivated. A lot of guys say you should never look at who's in the other lane. Well, I'm not that kind of person. I always know who I'm racing. You want to know their characteristics and sometimes it's easier to get motivated to race other people than it is some other people, which isn't good. I do better under pressure and when you're racing a guy like Capps, or any of our guys on the team, there's more pressure because we certainly want to be the best guy on the team at the end of the day."
"It feels great," said crew chief Todd Okuhara of his first win as a crew chief. "The guys worked hard all weekend, and Whit got us into the winner's circle.
"We felt we had a car that was capable of winning a while ago, and we've finally put it all together. Yesterday (in qualifying) was a good day for us, and to finish it off today is great."
Don Schumacher Racing had a double-win today, with Tony Schumacher claiming his second Top Fuel title of the year. "Overall, the team did just phenomenal today," said team owner Don Schumacher. "All of the Funny Cars, both dragsters, Richie Stevens in the Pro Stock car (semis). It was a huge win for the Matco Tools team here and for the U.S. Army team. Both of them are moving their way right back into contention in the points race and it's a big race for my teams overall, to say the least. I've been very fortunate this year with the amount of wins that I've had already this year (15 in all four classes) with all of the teams I have. it was great. This was a special day."
Next up is the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., July 28-30.