Cory McClenathan: Qualified No. 5: 4.612 seconds at 316.15 mph Eliminations: Round ...
Qualified No. 5: 4.612 seconds at 316.15 mph
Round #1: McClenathan (6.356/145.02) lost to John Smith (4.844/285.41)
A short route for Cory McClenathan at Route 66.
JOLIET, Ill., June 2, 2002 --Final eliminations got underway today at Route 66 Raceway home of the 5th annual NHRA Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals.
Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, squared off against John Smith, from Williamston, S.C., in the opening round. McClenathan was the fifth qualifier with an elapsed time (E.T.) of 4.612. Smith qualified 12th with an E.T. of 4.806 seconds. The pair have met twice this season with McClenathan holding a two-zip lead.
On paper it looked like an easy round for McClenathan. But first, you don't race on paper and secondly, no round is easy.
Away first at the light, McClenathan looked like the victory was in sight but the tires broke loose and Smith edged by and took the light and the first round win.
After the loss, McClenathan reflected on the run. "Nothing is easy out here and no race is a give me. We had the car set for a run of 63 or 65 (4.63 or 4.65 seconds). We don't know what really happen. (Crew chief) Wes Cerny said it looked like an early clutch, one of the timers went off a little bit early. It wasn't set that way, it was just one of those things. So many things can go wrong with these cars.
"It's a shame to see a car like this go out this early. Seeing (Tony) Schumacher and (Doug) Kalitta go out on the same round as us lessens the blow some. They're two that are right behind us in points. We don't have to worry about them catching us this race. That helps us a lot, but it doesn't make it any easier to lose."
McClenathan and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Centennial Batteries Top Fuel Dragster now move to the Columbus, Ohio area for the NHRA Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing. The event will take place June 13-16 at National Trail Raceway in Kirkersville, Ohio.