KENDALL MOTOR OIL, CHUCK ETCHELLS RACING TAB BAZEMORE FOR 1999 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 4, 1999 -- Officials at Kendall Motor Oil and Chuck Etchells Racing today announced that veteran Funny Car pilot Whit Bazemore would assume the...
KENDALL MOTOR OIL, CHUCK ETCHELLS RACING TAB BAZEMORE FOR 1999
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 4, 1999 -- Officials at Kendall Motor Oil and Chuck Etchells Racing today announced that veteran Funny Car pilot Whit Bazemore would assume the driving responsibilities of the Kendall Motor Oil/Superwinch Camaro Z28 for the 1999 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season.
"We are happy to welcome Whit Bazemore to Team Kendall" stated Susan Tate, Manager of Marketing and Sales Support for the Branded Lubricants business for Kendall. "We have set some lofty goals for our motorsports program in 1999, and we see Chuck Etchells Racing and Whit Bazemore as an integral part to its success.
Bazemore will be taking over the reins from noted pilot and team owner Chuck Etchells. Since the loss of a major associate sponsor following his season-ending victory in the Winston Finals, Etchells has explored all options in hopes of maintaining a championship-contending effort in the upcoming year. However, with less than a month before the first race of the season, Etchells decided it would be in the best interests of the team and his sponsors to temporarily step out of the cockpit and concentrate on the business of his racing team. However, the fiery Putnam, Connecticut native wants one point made perfectly clear - his driving days are far from over.
"I feel really good about bringing Whit Bazemore on board," said Etchells. "We are committed to make every attempt to keep up with the elite in the Funny Car division, even at the cost of some personal sacrifices. The reality is that money drives this extremely competitive sport. Whit will bring some very valuable associate sponsorship with him, which will enhance our efforts in 1999. But I would never get out of the car unless I felt comfortable that the driver I brought in could climb in and win. With Whit in the seat, we won't miss a beat. This in turn will allow me to concentrate on building our overall program. I will be at every event throughout the year, working with our current sponsors to assure they derive the maximum benefit from their involvement, while at the same time chasing our goal of having a two-car program beginning in the year 2000."
For the 35 year-old Bazemore, this represents the opportunity of a lifetime. Having competed with his own team throughout his Funny Car career, the Indianapolis native found himself without a primary sponsor for 1999. Faced with the prospect of becoming an unwilling spectator, Bazemore approached Etchells to inquire about jockeying for him. With today's announcement, Bazemore now finds himself in one of the most consistent, top performing racecars in the Funny Car division, the Kendall Motor Oil/Superwinch Camaro Z28.
"I am really happy and excited to be driving for Chuck Etchells Racing in 1999," exclaimed Bazemore. "Looking at the Etchells team, I see two things that define it. First is their consistency, as evidenced by their seven-year string of Top Five points finishes. Second is their loyalty, not only of the many long-term team members, but the many fine sponsors such as Kendall, Superwinch, Mighty Auto Parts, Snap-On Tools, and most recently, Chevrolet, who have all been part of the Etchells organization for years. I look forward to working with (co-crew chiefs) Tim and Kim Richards. Between them, they have won six NHRA World Championships. Since I was unwilling to field my own team without the necessary ingredients in place to compete for the championship, my only option was to join one that was established and capable of fielding a winning car, which certainly is the case with Etchells Racing. I know I will be able to do my part, bringing what I can to the team and contributing to its success as we aggressively attempt to take it to the next level. Overall, this is a very positive move for Whit Bazemore and, I believe, for Chuck Etchells Racing."