Sonoma: Whit Bazemore final summary

Bazemore takes over second in Funny Car points SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 1, 2004) - When Del Worsham was defeated in the Funny Car first round of the Fram-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway today and Whit Bazemore advanced to the second round...

Bazemore takes over second in Funny Car points

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 1, 2004) - When Del Worsham was defeated in the Funny Car first round of the Fram-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway today and Whit Bazemore advanced to the second round after eliminating Ron Capps, Bazemore took over second place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings

With points leader John Force fouling out in the final round against Tim Wilkerson, Bazemore is now 146 points out of the lead and still very much in the running for his first Funny Car championship.

Bazemore's first-round win against Capps was a nail-biter, held in cool and cloudy conditions. Both launched nearly identically (.073 reaction time for Bazemore; .075 for Capps). They were neck-to-neck down the quarter-mile, with Bazemore squeaking out the victory by a margin of .0124 of a second.

The second round against Tim Wilkerson saw a change in conditions as the clouds dispersed, the sun appeared and the track warmed up - never a favorite scenario for Bazemore and crew chief Lee Beard. Wilkerson took off first, with a .104 light, .118 for Bazemore. It was anyone's race, until the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus lost traction downtrack and Bazemore coasted to a 7.240-second elapsed time at 123.68 mph to Wilkerson's winning 4.946/312.78.

"The sun came out and it changed the whole complexion of the race and the track surface like it did two weeks ago (in Denver, where he lost in the first round) and last week (in Seattle where he lost in the semis)," said a disappointed Bazemore.

"Our guys are a super bunch of guys," he added. "I feel like we have the best team in the pit area. But we're struggling when the sun comes out, there's no denying that, and it's something that we've got to totally focus on and overcome.

"As a team that's exactly what we're going to do."

The match-up with Ron Capps was the duo's fourth first-round meeting of the year, and each has been a close win for Bazemore. "Lately it seems like they've been very close races when we run Capps, especially in the first round," said the Indianapolis resident who holds the national ET record of 4.713 seconds and the fastest speed ever in Funny Car history of 333.25 mph, "and it's a challenge because they're a team that's capable of stepping up any time, and they do. And we've been fortunate that we've been right there.

"We've won several times now by just a hundredth (of a second) or so. It just shows that you can't give anything up, either on the race track or on the starting line as a driver any time, and if you give something up anywhere, most likely you're going to go home."

Bazemore's teammate Gary Scelzi advanced to the semifinal round for the second event in a row and seventh of the year. He was defeated by John Force, but had he won he would have taken over second place from his teammate. "At one point I wanted to crush my teammate and establish some dominance in the team," Bazemore said, "and obviously now that we're in our second year together on the Don Schumacher Racing team, we've become better friends and it's a good relationship. I certainly want him to do well and have success, not necessarily at our expense, but if we're struggling like we are, then we want those guys to be the ones that set the pace and rise to the occasion."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Tim Wilkerson , Don Schumacher