Baytown: Cory McClenathan elimination day report

Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Rick Henkelman And David Baca -- Owners NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Top Fuel Dragster Cory Mcclenathan -- Driver NHRA O"Reilly Spring Nationals Houston Raceway Park Eliminations: Cory McClenathan Qualified No. 3:...

Henkelman & Baca Motorsports
Rick Henkelman And David Baca -- Owners
NHRA POWERade Drag Racing
Top Fuel Dragster
Cory Mcclenathan -- Driver

NHRA O"Reilly Spring Nationals
Houston Raceway Park
Eliminations: Cory McClenathan


Qualified No. 3: 4.615 seconds at 321.50 mph
Round #1: Cory Mac (4.699/312.18) def. Andrew Cowin (4.905/305.15)
Round #2 (Quarter-Finals): Cory Mac (4.766/306.88) def. Mark Kinsella (6.618/132.39)
Round #3 (Semifinals): Cory Mac (4.823/302.75) lost to Kenny Bernstein (4.655/318.84)

McClenathan makes semifinal at NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- As the opening round of eliminations got underway for the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, met the young Australian, Andrew Cowin in the NY Yankee dragster.

With a pass of 4.699 seconds at 312.18 mph, McClenathan won his second career victory over Cowin. He now leads Cowin 2-0. Next up for McClenathan, who is seeking his 27th career victory, is Texas driver Mark Kinsella. The pair have never met previously.

McClenathan quickly dispatched Kinsella and moves to his fourth semifinal round in five races. His opponent is the big, bad, red, beer dragster of Kenny Bernstein. This will be the fourth time Cory Mac has met Bernstein in five events on the 2002 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. He has won one time -- last weekend at the SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"Some people don't meet Kenny Bernstein as many times in a career as I've have this season, but I'm excited to be in another semifinal. Kenny's running really good here and is the car to beat this weekend. We're a pretty good car ourselves but we have to step it up. We ran a tenth slower than Kenny that last round. It could be a battle of who leaves first type of deal. It should be interesting. I've been off on the lights, Kenny has been on. I'm going to have to reach down deep and pull one out," said McClenathan, on his semifinal match up with Bernstein.

Bernstein is third and McClenathan fourth on the all-time win list for Top Fuel drivers. Bernstein has 31 wins, while McClenathan has 26. Leading all Top Fuel drivers with 52 victories is Joe Amato. Don "Big Daddy" Garlits is second with 35. (Note: Bernstein also has 30 Funny Car victories.)

McClenathan did win the battle at the starting lights by 21 hundredth of a second. After that the power of the Tim Richards-tuned, Kenny Bernstein Budweiser King took over. Bernstein tripped the win lights first in 4.655 seconds followed by Cory Mac in 4.823 seconds.

"I couldn't be happier," said McClenathan. "Well, I could be. It would have been nice to get by Kenny (Bernstein) and have an opportunity to pick up some ground on Tony (Schumacher). We think we had the second strongest car out there today. You get on one side of the ladder and you have to race the big dog like Kenny Bernstein. That's just how it goes. This Henkelman and Baca Top Fuel Dragster is running great and we're ready to rock and roll in Bristol (Tenn.) like everybody else."

Team owner Rick Henkelman assessed the weekend results this way: "Great weekend. Great driver. Great crew chief. We got a little something going on with the car right now. We like to know what it is, but we'll work on it and have it ready for Bristol (Tenn.).

In the Top Fuel final Kenny Bernstein defeated Tony Schumacher. John Force garnered win number 100 when he defeated Tommy Johnson, Jr., in Funny Car. Mike Edwards took top honors in Pro Stock and Craig Treble won his second consecutive Pro Stock Motorcycle title.

In the Top Fuel NHRA POWERade point standings McClenathan is fourth with 355 points, Tony Schumacher is third with 375 points, Kenny Bernstein remained in second with 421 points but picked up points on the leader Larry Dixon who now has 486 points, after Dixon lost in the opening round today.

The next race for the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Team is the 2nd annual Mac Tool Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. The event will unfold for three days, April 26-28.

-h&bm-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Andrew Cowin , David Baca , Tommy Johnson , Craig Treble , Cory McClenathan , Mark Kinsella , Cory Mac , Tim Richards , Mike Edwards