McClenathan ends season fifth in NHRA POWERade points
Cory McClenathan, driver of the NY Yankees/Berryman Products Top Fuel dragster, ended the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series in fifth position in the final standing in this year's NHRA Powerade Top Fuel rankings. En route to finishing fifth, McClenathan turned back strong challenges by Kenny Bernstein and David Baca at the recently competed season-ending NHRA Automobile Club of Southern California Finals.
During the Finals, the veteran driver from Riverside Calif., who qualified No. 6, advanced to the semifinals before being defeated by Bernstein, who went on to win the NHRA Automobile Club of Southern California Finals Top Fuel title, in what may be the final start of his career in the Budweiser King dragster.
In the opening round, McClenathan defeated Baca, who was only 69 points behind Cory Mac entering eliminations. The legendary Shirley Muldowney, in the final race on her "Final Pass Tour," fell victim to McClenathan in the quarterfinals.
In finishing fifth in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings, McClenathan accumulated 1150 points. Cory Mac's point total was 39 points in front of Bernstein, who finished sixth, and 109 points in front of Baca, who wound up in seventh.
Topping the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings was Larry Dixon, who took the title for the second consecutive year. He just missed the 2000 point mark, ending 2003 with 1994 points. Doug Kalitta was second with 1664 points, followed by Tony Schumacher in third with 1523 points and Darrell Russell in fourth with 1301 points.
Rounding out the top ten were No. 8 John Smith (938), No. 9 Doug Herbert (912) and No. 10 Rhonda Hartman-Smith (870).
"Darrell (team owner Darrell Gwynn) and I came into the 2003 season real late," said McClenathan, "thinking if we could go out there and finish in the top five we'd be ecstatic. Well you know what, we put this NY Yankees/Berryman Products car in the fifth spot. Anytime you can finish in the top five, it's great!
"We had a season of ups and downs. Our high point was running 4.46 seconds at 332 mph in Chicago. That was awesome. Coming back to Pomona for this race and going to the semis was a real shot in the arm for this team. John Stewart, Todd Smith and all the team rallied back from me driving into the sand pit on Thursday to almost winning this thing.
"I've had a great ride this year at Darrell Gwynn Racing. Darrell and Jerry Gwynn are awesome people. Berryman Products... I can't say enough about the Berryman folks and everybody included on this car from Don Steves Chevrolet, Negley Electric, PurePower Lubricants, Fabtech Performance to all the other fine companies that keep us running race to race -- GMC, Mac Tools, MBNA Bank, and Winnebago Industries. It's been a great year."
McClenathan also advanced to the semifinal round of the Budweiser Shootout, a special race-within-a-race, open to the top qualifiers throughout 2003 and held in conjunction with the Automobile Club of Southern California Finals . In the opening round he turned back Darrell Russell before bowing out to Doug Kalitta, who defeated Tony Schumacher in the final round to claim the $100,000 top prize.
The 2004 season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals is scheduled for February 19-22 at Pomona Raceway, on the grounds of the LA County Fairplex, in Pomona, Calif.
About Berryman Products: Berryman Products, Inc., a privately held company based in Arlington, Texas, manufactures and distributes the highest quality professional automotive chemical products throughout the US and internationally. With warehouse facilities in Alabama, Texas and California, Berryman products are sold to major auto parts chains, mass merchants and wholesale suppliers, independent automotive repair shops and car dealers. To learn more visit their website at www.berrymanproducts.com or contact the company at 800-433-1704