Topeka: Whit Bazemore Friday summary

Bazemore takes No. 1 in Friday Topeka qualifying TOPEKA, Kan. (May 28, 2004) - Whit Bazemore continues to burn up the nation's drag strips with his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car, after qualifying No. 1 following two qualifying...

Bazemore takes No. 1 in Friday Topeka qualifying

TOPEKA, Kan. (May 28, 2004) - Whit Bazemore continues to burn up the nation's drag strips with his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car, after qualifying No. 1 following two qualifying sessions on Friday for the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals. His 4.792-second elapsed time at 323.19 mph topped the charts at both ends, with the fastest and quickest pass of the day. In the first session, he posted a 4.954/307.51.

Two more qualifying sessions will be held tomorrow.

There was a short delay when Cruz Pedregon had an engine problem in the second qualifying session, which may have given the teams behind him some cooler temperatures to try for lower ETs and higher speeds, including Bazemore's.

"Actually, when Cruz blew his motor the track changed right there," said Bazemore. "Before that it was still kind of hot, so we were conservative. We waited like maybe 10 minutes and that made a difference. It was really too late for us to do anything about it, so we under-performed for those conditions and because of that we're sort of surprised that we're up here (in the press room holding No. 1 interviews)."

Bazemore's fierce rival Tony Pedregon was No. 1 with a 4.798/320.66 before Bazemore took to the quarter-mile in the second round. "There's a little rivalry there," said Bazemore. "Any time we can pick their pocket, it's good. Actually, they're running very, very well for a new team. They've been impressive the last couple of weeks and they're right there. The top four or five cars are all right there and it's important to the Matco Tools team that we're there as well.

"The 323-mph run tonight feels really slow," said Bazemore, who established a national ET record last week in Joliet of 4.713 seconds at the world's fastest Funny Car speed of 333.25 mph. "When we ran the first run (tonight) we went 4.954 and (John) Force went 4.906 and when we got to the other end, I said, Man, that's so boring after running low .70s (in Joliet). It's amazing what you feel driving the car. We were weak at the other end tonight. I told Lee (Beard, crew chief), I don't know what mile an hour it ran, but we left a lot on the table down there and he said, Yeah, we had it way tuned down. But we went 10 mph slower. I mean, 333, it's not so much the sensation of speed that let's you know that you're going faster than anyone else, faster than you've ever gone yourself, but it's the way the car runs, the way the motor revs up and the way it keeps pulling. If it had 5 gs at half track, then it had 4.5 at the finish line (in Joliet). Like, tonight, if it had 5 gs at half track maybe it had 1.5 or 2 at the finish line. It's that kind of difference."

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , Cruz Pedregon