Las Vegas II: Cory McClenathan Saturday summary

McClenathan No. 8 at Vegas Advances to semifinals at Budweiser Shootout LAS VEGAS (October 22, 2005) -- After four qualifying sessions over the last two days, Cory McClenathan parlayed a 4.553 second pass to qualify No. 8 at this weekend's ...

McClenathan No. 8 at Vegas
Advances to semifinals at Budweiser Shootout

LAS VEGAS (October 22, 2005) -- After four qualifying sessions over the last two days, Cory McClenathan parlayed a 4.553 second pass to qualify No. 8 at this weekend's fifth annual NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On the opening day of qualifying, new crew chief Wes Cerny, along with clutch specialists Bob Bauer, gave McClenathan's Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM AirHog Top Fuel dragster some of the consistency it's been lacking finishing Friday's qualifying in the No. 5 qualifying position.

McClenathan opened with a good base run of 4.629 seconds at 324.59 mph. The Lake Havasu (Ariz.) driver returned in the afternoon/evening qualifying session lowering his elapsed time to 4.553 seconds.

In the first session on Saturday, which also doubles as the opening round of the Budweiser Shootout, McClenathan posted another 4.55 pass -- a 4.555 seconds at 327.35 mph.

In the final qualifying session, McClenathan once again dipped into the 50s running a 4.576 seconds elapsed time at 318.32 mph. That placed Cory Mac No. 8 on the final qualifying ladder. He will square off against David Grubnic in tomorrow's opening round. Grubnic qualified No. 9 with a pass of 4.564 seconds at 323.12 mph.

"This car is doing what we wanted new crew chief Wes Cerny to do here this weekend -- that being get this car to go from A to B and do it consistently. We had three qualifying runs in the 50s (4.50-second range), so Wes and the guys did their job," said McClenathan. "We have (David) Grubnic tomorrow and he's always tough but I think we'll be ready."

BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT: The 21st annual Budweiser Shootout, a special race-within-a-race during this weekend's NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals, got underway today pitting the best drivers the Top Fuel class has to offer.

Top Fuel drivers have been earning points since last year's Las Vegas fall race based on how they qualify at each race. Eight drivers qualify for the Shootout.

McClenathan, appearing in his 13th Budweiser Shootout, was paired against Brandon Bernstein in the opening round of the Shootout. Other first round pairings included Tony Schumacher vs. David Grubnic, Morgan Lucas vs. Scott Kalitta, and Larry Dixon vs. Doug Kalitta.

Against Bernstein, McClenathan was away first and never looked back stopping the finish line clocks in 4.555 seconds at 327.35 mph. Bernstein recorded a pass of 4.590 seconds at 320.43 mph. Other winners in the opening round were Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta and Scott Kalitta.

Against Scott Kalitta, the pair left the line together, but Kalitta gained a slight advantage over McClenathan as they headed toward the finish line. Kalitta crossed the line first in 4.610 seconds, followed by McClenathan in 4.641 seconds.

On the other side of the ladder, Schumacher defeated Doug Kalitta. That sets a Schumacher vs. Scott Kalitta match up in the final.

In a barn burner, Schumacher nipped Kalitta at the finish line.

"It was good to go a few rounds at this year's Budweiser Shootout," said McClenathan. "It was good to get by Brandon Bernstein, sort of a pay back for his win over me in last year's Shootout. We're friends, but not when we're against each other on the track. Wes Cerny (crew chief) came in here and had only a couple of runs and did an awesome job for us getting this car ready for the Shootout. Thanks to Wes, Bob Bauer and the crew for giving me a good car today."

SECOND ANNUAL SPEEDWAY CHILDREN'S CHARITIES TEXAS HOLD'EM POKER TOURNAMENT: This past Wednesday (Oct. 19), Cory McClenathan, who drivers the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM AirHog Top Fuel dragster for a living, played poker for charity when he joined fellow drivers -- Jack Beckman, Brandon Bernstein, Rod Fuller and David Grubnic -- and fans and poker players from near and far in the annual "Cards for Kids" event held at The Club showroom, inside The Cannery Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The event raised over $8,000 for the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities for the children of Las Vegas and southern Nevada.

Playing Texas Hold'em, McClenathan, from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., took top honors among the NHRA drivers and finished third overall in the tournament. The top five finishers were Jeff Motley (Las Vegas), Jessica Cooper (Rainier, Wash.), McClenathan; Paul Coronado (North Las Vegas) and Dave Rutherford (Las Vegas). Motley won a five-day, four-night trip to Hawaii courtesy of Fairfield Resorts.

"This was great fun," said McClenathan, who was playing in his first organized poker tournament, "and the best part was it benefited children from Las Vegas and surrounding areas. I'm already signed up for next year and look forward to this event getting bigger and bigger each year. Hats off to Janae Melvin and her group at the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities for putting on such a great event."

ELIMINATIONS: McClenathan begins his quest for the Top Fuel title on Sunday with eliminations for all classes getting underway at 11 a.m. Times are local Las Vegas time -- same as Pacific Time (PT) -- 3 hour behind Eastern Time (ET) -- and subject to change at anytime.

-cbr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Jack Beckman , Brandon Bernstein , Morgan Lucas , Rod Fuller

Latest nhra photos

Topeka

Topeka

13 photos
Atlanta

Atlanta

16 photos
Houston

Houston

14 photos
Las Vegas

Las Vegas

14 photos
Charlotte

Charlotte

18 photos
Gainesville

Gainesville

15 photos
Phoenix

Phoenix

5 photos
Pomona

Pomona

14 photos
View more nhra photos