Sonoma: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

Bazemore No. 6 in Sonoma qualifying SONOMA, Calif. (July 31, 2004) - Whit Bazemore and crew chief Lee Beard are making strides in developing a new setup for the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car under the recent new NHRA ...

Bazemore No. 6 in Sonoma qualifying

SONOMA, Calif. (July 31, 2004) - Whit Bazemore and crew chief Lee Beard are making strides in developing a new setup for the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car under the recent new NHRA regulations, including a newly-mandated Goodyear tire. Bazemore ended up No. 6 in qualifying for the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals, based on the 4.908/315.12 lap he posted in last night's session.

The two-time U.S. Nationals champion and fastest Funny Car driver on the planet (333.25 mph) hazed the tires in the third round of qualifying today (6.399/139.86), then helped to produce a picture-perfect side-by-side pass against his teammate Gary Scelzi in the final round. Bazemore nipped Scelzi's 4.998/306.67, with a quicker 4.963/310.27.

"It was really very smooth," he said of that last pass. "That's what we're working on, trying to get the car smooth. It seems to be very important with this tire, because if it goes into any kind of rattle at all the tire won't recover. The tire basically has to be nearly perfect. I think we made really good progress today. I actually feel a lot better.

"We struggled in the heat at Denver (ousted in the first round) and we struggled in the heat at Seattle when the sun came out in the semifinals (lost in semis). And I think today Lee made good progress with the tune-up and it's starting to come around and react to his inputs in a consistent way. We feel better and it will be a good race tomorrow."

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

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi