BAZEMORE GOES TO SEMIFINALS IN SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) - Whit Bazemore has been quietly demonstrating in the last few races that the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car he drives for Don Schumacher Racing has been...
BAZEMORE GOES TO SEMIFINALS IN SONOMA
SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) - Whit Bazemore has been quietly demonstrating in the last few races that the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car he drives for Don Schumacher Racing has been the car to beat. But it wasn't until he won in Seattle last Sunday that the world clearly witnessed the improvement. And Bazemore was on his way to putting an exclamation point to the fact today at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals, until his run ended in the semifinal round.
The two-time U.S. Nationals champion and 1999 winner blew through the field, first disposing of his teammate Ron Capps in the second consecutive event with a 4.902-second elapsed time at 315.78 mph, then sent Tony Bartone packing with a 4.873/318.17.
In the semis, Bazemore and opponent Eric Medlen launched with nearly-identical reaction times (.082 for Bazemore, .080 for Medlen - .000 is perfect). It looked like Bazemore was on his way, until the car lost power and Medlen drove to the finish line first with a 4.922/314.53 to Bazemore's losing 5.020/306.60.
"There's something wrong with the car, because it was way, way down on power and we got outrun, which we certainly didn't expect," said Bazemore. "The car should have run another 4.87 (-second elapsed time). I don't know what happened there.
"Getting to the semis was a good result today. The Matco Tools team has really come together in a way that makes me very proud, and I'm sure it makes all the Matco Tools distributors around the country really proud, and that's the important thing.
"I can't say enough about the job that Todd (Okuhara, crew chief) and Phil (Shuler, assistant crew chief) are doing, and all the guys on the team. They have really raised the level of the game over here and they make my job really pretty easy."
On defeating his teammate and Funny Car points leader Ron Capps for the second straight event: "The first round when you have to race a guy who is leading the POWERade championship is tough. They are obviously a team, a car and a driver that are very, very good. We really had to bring our A-game to the table and we get up for that.
"Capps is a really good driver and very rarely does he make a mistake driving, so you can't make a mistake. It makes it more challenging to race them and I wish it wasn't in the first round, because, quite honestly, no one needs that that early in the game.
"But the way the class is now it's very competitive all the way through. So many cars are consistently good, that if it's not Capps you have to race, it's someone else who's real good too. You just have to go up there and race your car and be up for the day and make sure you try to leave the starting line first."
Bazemore is eighth in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings, 104 points out of the top five.
Next up is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 11-13, 2006.