BAZEMORE DRIVES TO QUARTERFINALS AT TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (June 3, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore didn't capture his third career victory at Heartland Park Topeka on Sunday afternoon, but the veteran nitro pilot gained more confidence behind the wheel of...
BAZEMORE DRIVES TO QUARTERFINALS AT TOPEKA
TOPEKA, Kan. (June 3, 2007) -- Whit Bazemore didn't capture his third career victory at Heartland Park Topeka on Sunday afternoon, but the veteran nitro pilot gained more confidence behind the wheel of his David Powers-owned Matco Tools dragster during the 19th running of the O'Reilly Summer Nationals.
After racing his Matco Tools rail to the No. 3 qualifying position, Bazemore bested Melanie Troxel before bowing out to No. 6 qualifier and current NHRA points leader Brandon Bernstein in round two. The 20-time NHRA winner now ranks eighth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings.
As the fifth pair of dragsters to battle the sunny Heartland Park quarter mile on Sunday morning, the drivers used nearly identical reaction times as Bazemore used a tune-up from championship crew chief Lee Beard to race his Matco Tools rail to a solid pass at 4.572 seconds at 320.20 to earn the win light in the right lane. Bazemore edged Troxel's pass of 4.622 at 313.73.
In the quarterfinals, Bazemore used the best reaction time of the round (.055 of-a-second) to race the Matco dragster to the early lead and pressed on to a performance of 4.806 at 258.81 after losing traction. Bernstein posted an outstanding pass of 4.555 at 319.01 to earn the trip to the semifinals. His 4.555 elapsed time was the quickest of the round.
"We didn't get the result that we wanted which was a victory, but we're coming away from Topeka with a lot more confidence as a driver," Bazemore said. "In that respect, it was a very positive weekend. As far as the car goes, we learned a few things and we're taking the steps to make ourselves competitive during the hot summer months.
"The Budweiser car ran its best number of the weekend against us on a hot race track. You give them credit for a job well done. That was a great pass. Again, we improved as a team. I've got my confidence and I feel we can be very competitive, and I think the Matco team is going to enjoy bigger success as the season goes on."