Bristol: Clay McClenathan Saturday summary

Rain wins at Bristol Dragway McClenathan and FRAM AirHog Dragster qualifies No. 9 BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 30, 2005) - Mother Nature interrupted qualifying at Bristol Dragway for the fifth annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals when both Friday...

Rain wins at Bristol Dragway
McClenathan and FRAM AirHog Dragster qualifies No. 9

BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 30, 2005) - Mother Nature interrupted qualifying at Bristol Dragway for the fifth annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals when both Friday qualifying sessions were canceled and Saturday's start was delayed.

"Having only two sessions to qualifying puts stress on both the team and the driver," said McClenathan, driver of the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM AirHog Dragster, prior to the start of Saturday's qualifying. "One or two miscues during qualifying and you find that you're on the way home.

"Not qualifying is definitely the one thing that we don't want to happen at this track. One, Bristol Dragway is the home track of Carrier Boyz Racing, based just a few miles from the track entrance. Two, we are carrying the 40th anniversary decal honoring the Bristol Dragway, built by Larry Carrier and Carl Moore in 1965. And three, as close as the parity is in Top Fuel, we can't afford to lose the points."

When action finally got underway on Saturday, Carrier's sons, Mark and Andy, owners of Carrier Boyz Racing, watched McClenathan cover the "Thunder Valley" quarter-mile in 4.813 seconds. The elapsed time was good for the No. 9 qualifying position entering tomorrow's eliminations.

"I had to pedal (get on and off the throttle) it in the right lane," reflected McClenathan after the first run. "We're in the field and still have the opportunity to improve. Todd (Smith, crew chief) and the guys will have us ready."

Enter Mother Nature again. The rains returned and the final qualifying session was canceled. The team never had a chance to make that second run.

Now that qualifying is over and eliminations are still scheduled for tomorrow, Cory Mac would like to nothing better than to put special edition 40th anniversary Bristol Dragway FRAM AirHog in the winner's circle again and claim his 29th national event victory since turning pro in 1991.

Even though it didn't count in his official win total, McClenathan's biggest win and a $200,000 payday came at Bristol Dragway in 2000 when he won the Winston Showdown, a special race-within-a-race.

The Lake Havasu City, Ariz., driver ranks fifth on the all-time Top Fuel win list and second only to Larry Dixon in wins among full-time active Top Fuel drivers. He enters this event fifth in POWERade points.

McClenathan begins his quest for the Top Fuel title tomorrow with eliminations for all classes getting underway at 12 noon (ET). He will face Scott Weis in the opening round for the fourth consecutive race..

-cbr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Scott Weis , Cory Mac , Carl Moore