Atlanta: Cory McClenathan finals summary

Herbert derails McClenathan train at Atlanta. COMMERCE, Ga. -- After the weather delays of the past two days, eliminations got underway on time today for the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac, the seventh of ...

Herbert derails McClenathan train at Atlanta.

COMMERCE, Ga. -- After the weather delays of the past two days, eliminations got underway on time today for the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac, the seventh of 23 events on the 2002 NHRA POWERade® Drag Racing Series.

In the opening round, Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, went head-to-head with Darrell Russell, from Hockley, Texas. McClenathan had qualified #3, while Russell finished in the 14th position.

McClenathan, who entered this event third in NHRA POWERade points, won the first-ever match up with Russell. Russell smoked the tires and Cory Mac raced to the finish line and the win light.

"The car shook a little, but that was it. As with any win, I'm happy," said McClenathan, who has lane choice over Doug Herbert, from Cherryville, N.C., in the second round.

The first two thirds of the run belonged to McClenathan. Then the tires went up in smoke and Herbert squeezed on past Cory Mac to take the win. It was one of the few misses that crew chief Wes Cerny and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team have experienced in seven races this season.

Reflecting on the loss to Herbert, McClenathan said, "It pretty much looked like we had Doug covered. From the starting line to mid track, or just beyond, everything was okay. Then, for some reason, and I haven't talked to Wes (Cerny) yet, it had to be clutch or some sort of mechanical problem. It just blew 'em off. It never does it that far down the track. The transitions are way before that. Until I talk to Wes, I don't know for sure. I can definitely say it was not the kind of weekend this Henkelman & Baca team was looking for. We thought we were in a pretty good position to march forward but it wasn't meant to be this weekend."

The hottest driver on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Larry Dixon, defeated Doug Herbert to take the Top Fuel title. It was Dixon's sixth final round in seven races. He now has five wins. Whit Bazemore took top honors in Funny Car when he defeated John Force. It was Bazemore's second consecutive victory. In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson turned backed Greg Anderson for his second career win. The Pro Stock Motorcycle final was a battle of fierce rivals and reigning NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Angelle Savoie, who has won two consecutive NHRA championships, bested Matt Hines, who has three NHRA championships to his credit.

Top Fuel points stack up as follows: 1.) Larry Dixon, 718 points: Kenny Bernstein, -162 points behind; Cory McClenathan, -232; Tony Schumacher, -274; and Doug Kalitta, -335.

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series now moves to the northeast and Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N. J., for the 33rd annual NHRA Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions, which unfolds May 16-19. Cory McClenathan and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster will kickoff professional qualifying on Friday, May 17th with two qualifying sessions.

-h&br-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Matt Hines , Larry Dixon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Cory McClenathan , Allen Johnson , Cory Mac