Qualifying: Cory McClenathan Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals Bristol Dragway -- Bristol, Tenn. Session ...
Qualifying: Cory McClenathan
Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals
Bristol Dragway -- Bristol, Tenn.
Session #1 Friday: 4.714 seconds at 312.13 mph (#5)
Session #2 Friday: 4.609 seconds at 313.66 mph (#4)
Session #1 Saturday: 6.065 seconds at 143.92 mph (#4)
Session #2 Saturday: 4.724 seconds at 277.37 mph (#4)
It's top half of the qualifying field for McClenathan.
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Entering qualifying for the Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn., Cory McClenathan, driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, had qualified in the top half of the field at four of the first five races on the 2002 NHRA POWERade® Drag Racing Series.
After Friday's qualifying, the first two of four qualifying sessions, McClenathan was firmly entrenched on familiar ground, the top half of the Top Fuel field, as he held down the 4th qualifying position. Running a respectable elapsed time (E.T.) of 4.714 seconds in Friday's first session, the Anaheim, Calif., driver, closed out the day with a stout pass of 4.609 seconds at 313.66 mph.
When the first day of qualifying ended, McClenathan and Doug Kalitta had identical times, but third place on the qualifying grid went to Kalitta by virtue of his faster speed -- 319.45 mph. McClenathan will try to break that tie in the two remaining qualifying opportunities on Saturday. Entering the final two qualifying sessions, Kenny Bernstein, from Newport Beach, Calif., held the provisional pole with an E.T. of 4.599 seconds. Bernstein also established a track speed record for the Top Fuel class in Friday's first session at 323.27 mph.
"We just tried to go from A to B in that first session," said McClenathan. "In the second, we tried to step it up and put a cylinder out about 2.4 seconds into the run and that sapped some of our power. We ran the same E.T. as Doug Kalitta but lost third because he ran a higher mile per hour."
With slightly higher temperatures and an increase in the humidity level, the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team was unable to pick up any ground on the top three in Saturday's early session. Paired against Kalitta, McClenathan began to lose power just before half track and was never a factor. Kalitta began hazing the tires at half track and smoked the Goodyears all the way to the finish line. Fortunately for both, they were already qualified well.
With a pass of 4.583 seconds in Saturday's first session, Larry Dixon took over the #1 spot. Only one chance remained for teams to make the field of the 16 top qualifiers or to refine their tune up for tomorrow's eliminations.
Again matched against Kalitta in the final qualifying session, McClenathan tossed a blower belt and coasted to the finish line. When all was said and done, Cory Mac and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team had a secure hold on the fourth spot, once again qualifying in the top half of the field.
In tomorrow's elimination, McClenathan will be matched against the #13 qualifier Scott Weis, from Ashland, Va., in the opening round. Weis qualified with a pass of 4.813 seconds at 288.46 mph. The pair have never met in head-to-head competition.