Sonoma: Whit Bazemore preview

Bazemore looks to improve set-up in Sonoma SONOMA, Calif. (July 27, 2004) - After reaching the Funny Car semifinal round at Pacific Raceways last weekend, Whit Bazemore is just nine points from moving back up the charts into second place in the...

Bazemore looks to improve set-up in Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. (July 27, 2004) - After reaching the Funny Car semifinal round at Pacific Raceways last weekend, Whit Bazemore is just nine points from moving back up the charts into second place in the championship rankings and 102 points short of the lead. The driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car remains firmly in the hunt for his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series crown.

The fastest and quickest Funny Car driver in NHRA history (4.713 seconds at 333.25 mph) and points leader through three events this year, turns his focus this week on finding the right set-up for his car under the recent new rules set down by NHRA and the hot temperatures expected at Infineon.

"It's going to be a hot race track most likely," says the two-time U.S. Nationals champion and two-time winner this season so far, "so it would be nice to have the opportunity for Lee (Beard, crew chief) and the Matco Tools team to have more runs with this new set-up. With the short time available between these last three back-to-back races (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma), I don't know if that's possible.

"But, we'll attack the dragstrip at Infineon Raceway the best way we know how to, and try to work on our combination so that we can be more competitive on hot tracks. In order to win, we can't count on there being overcast and cool conditions in Sonoma, because typically it's one of the hottest races of the year.

"It's going to be a challenge for everybody," he adds, "but we like the challenge, we're up for it. The Matco Tools team is awesome. Everybody gives 110 percent and when you have that kind of situation you end up being very successful. That's why we're going to be successful, because we're going to work hard and make things happen."

The Indianapolis resident has made things happen here in Sonoma. He was the Funny Car winner here in 1999 and runner-up in '98. He's also qualified No. 1 three times at this Northern California track, in '99, '00 and '01.

Pro qualifying is scheduled for 3 and 6 p.m. on Friday, July 30, and at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 31. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1

On Saturday, July 31, ESPN2 will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 7 p.m. (ET). On Sunday, Aug. 1, ESPN2 will televise three hours of eliminations at 8 p.m. (ET). On Sunday, Aug. 1, ESPN2 will televise NHRA 2Day, a 30-minute magazine show at 1 p.m. (ET).

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore