Seattle: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

Bazemore takes No. 7 spot in Seattle qualifying KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2004) - The oppressive heat continued in the Northwest corner of the United States and at Pacific Raceways today, as the final two rounds of Funny Car qualifying for the ...

Bazemore takes No. 7 spot in Seattle qualifying

KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2004) - The oppressive heat continued in the Northwest corner of the United States and at Pacific Raceways today, as the final two rounds of Funny Car qualifying for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals were completed.

Whit Bazemore and his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus team struggled to get down the quarter-mile today as crew chief Lee Beard and the Matco Tools team tried to make sense of the new 85-percent nitromethane rule, a new Goodyear tire, newly-mandated tire pressures, along with a resurfaced race track and temperatures in the high 90s.

The two-time U.S. Nationals champion and two-time winner of this event ended up No. 7 in the Funny Car field, with the 5.048/296.24 lap he posted last night. Today's two rounds produced a tire-smoking 10.886/77.85 and 6.195/149.80 for the fastest Funny Car driver on the planet (333.25 mph at Route 66 Raceway this year).

"We're working hard to get a combination together with this tire in the heat and we struggled a little bit today," he said. "The first run we shook and then this afternoon we were right on the edge of the groove and it just dropped the right tire out of the groove a little bit and it shook again.

"Between the tire and the hot track, the margin for error is very, very small and there's quite a small window to tune the car. It's going to be a hard race. It's going to be a tough day tomorrow. But we feel good. We just have to go out there and be ready for anything. Everyone is somewhat in the same boat; the speeds and the ETs are way down, and it's awfully hot.

"The driver has to be perfect and the crew chief's combination and tune-up have to be perfect," he added, "which is really no different than it's ever been, but maybe it's a little more pronounced now.

"The track temperature is really high, the highest we've had all year by far. It's been around 135 degrees. It's going to be a challenge tomorrow. We'll be ready."

Bazemore faces Ron Capps in the first round of eliminations on Sunday, which begin at 11 a.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps