Bazemore collects his first No. 1 of the year
Columbus, Saturday: Whit Bazemore went against all odds in last night's qualifying session by claiming No. 1 and setting a track record in qualifying with the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus, while the rest of the Funny Car and Top Fuel cars struggled to get down the track.
As conditions warmed for today's final two qualifying sessions, Bazemore was able to hold onto his No. 1 spot, collecting his 29th career No. 1 and first of the 2005 season, based on the 4.762-second pass at 322.34 mph from last night. He also holds on to the track speed record he set in 2004, of 325.92 mph.
"Qualifying No. 1 is special when you consider the type of season we've had, and the fact that we struggled somewhat with our Matco Tools Dodge this year," said Bazemore, who has won twice, from both the eighth and 12th positions.
"Lee Beard and the Matco Tools team worked really hard to get us back on track, especially when we tested at Bristol Dragway on Monday after the race and we made a number of strong runs. Hopefully we will be able to look back at Atlanta (last weekend's race) and say that that event was the turning point for us and that's what motivated us to come here and get our car going in the right direction.
"We're still finding our way. We've been so hot and cold this year. It's basically a fairly new tune-up in the car and Beard is still finding his way with it.
"Having said that, it was really a good run to learn where we can go and where we can't go."
As for the track conditions, "I don't know what the problems were yesterday. It was good for us, but we shook too. We were fortunate to get down the track."
Bazemore faces Dale Creasy Jr. in the first round of final eliminations.
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