Bristol: Cory McClenathan Saturday summary

McClenathan ninth as qualifying ends for the NHRA Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals. BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 26, 2003) -- Fresh from a runner-up finish to Doug Kalitta at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' last event at Houston, Cory ...

McClenathan ninth as qualifying ends for the NHRA Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 26, 2003) -- Fresh from a runner-up finish to Doug Kalitta at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' last event at Houston, Cory McClenathan and his New York Yankees/Berryman Products-sponsored teammates seek to produce back-to-back strong performances during both qualifying and eliminations at this weekend's NHRA third annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals.

McClenathan, driver of the Darrell Gwynn Racing-owned Top Fuel Dragster, started steady on Friday but picked up the performance pace and consistency on Saturday. After a lengthy rain delay on Saturday afternoon, when qualifying resumed in early evening, the veteran driver finished ninth on the qualifying grid after running a 4.602 second pass in the first session on Saturday and following the rains he recorded a 4.601 second run.

I don't think we were fully ready for our two runs on Friday," said McClenathan. On Friday night we had the front end too light again, which is kind of my fault. I told our crew chief (John) Stewart that we didn't need anymore front end weight. Then we had to idle too long at the line and it ate up too much fuel making the front end a little light.

"We came back on Saturday with a different outlook: go from point A to point B with consistency. We ran a couple of 4.60 second passes. Right now our car is consistent. Tomorrow we'd like to run in the 4.50s. This Berryman Products Top Fueler is making me real happy."

During the second pass on Friday, McClenathan recorded a personal best speed when he blazed the speed traps in 327.27 mph. This exceeded his previous best speed of 324.90 mph which he ran at Atlanta Dragway in May of last year.

"For me that's a big milestone. I've been stuck at 324-plus (mph) for nearly a year now. This car has run big numbers-- in the 330 mph range but that was before I got here. It felt great to run 327 (mph) and be behind the wheel."

McClenathan's first round opponent is David Baca. Baca claimed the eighth qualifying position by virtue of a 4.599 second pass at 315.27 mph. The pair have not met in head-to-head competition in 2003. Baca is part owner in the team Cory Mac drove for last season.

-dgr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , David Baca , Cory McClenathan , Darrell Gwynn , Cory Mac