Seattle: Cory McClenathan preview

Denver's behind, Seattle's the next opportunity for Cory McClenathan. KENT, Wash. -- Next up on the "Western Swing" is the 15th annual NHRA Lucas Oil Products Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash. For Cory McClenathan, from ...

Denver's behind, Seattle's the next opportunity for Cory McClenathan.

KENT, Wash. -- Next up on the "Western Swing" is the 15th annual NHRA Lucas Oil Products Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash.

For Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, this weekend's event means that Denver was last weekend and must be placed aside, for Seattle is a new opportunity.

At Denver, McClenathan was the class of the Top Fuel category. He was consistent throughout qualifying and advanced through eliminations like Sherman marched on Atlanta, until he met up in the finals with Darrell Russell. Even in the finals, he ran the quickest elapsed time, the only problem was he didn't get to the finish line first.

Russell was away first at the green light. It was an old fashion drag race with both cars running 4.80's -- a 4.877 for McClenathan, a 4.893 for Russell. But for McClenathan there wasn't enough race track to overcome the advantage that Russell gained at the starting line.. Russell took the win light by four hundredth of a second.

"This is the second time I let the kid (Russell) get away from me," said McClenathan, "and both times it ended what was an exceptional weekend for this Henkelman and Baca Motorsports Centennial Batteries Dragster.

"You know there's an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Well, shame on me. But let me state another old saying: The buck stops here. I don't intend to let him do that to me a third time. At least, not any time soon. But I must put Denver behind and look at the new opportunities in Seattle.

"It will be great to get back to sea level and I hope some cooler temperatures. I like the Seattle track. I've been to the finals four times, winning in 1997. This would be a great time for win number two.

"For this race, (crew chief) Wes Cerny plans to continue to do what we did at Denver -- be consistent and have the car go from A to B. All the crew did a great job getting us to the finals last weekend. This weekend it's my job to put us in the winner's circle."

McClenathan is the only Top Fuel active driver in this weekend's field to have won an event at Pacific Raceways.

Entering the Lucas Oil Products Northwest Nationals, McClenathan is third in the NHRA POWERade® Top Fuel point standings, 352 points behind point leader Larry Dixon and 233 behind second place Kenny Bernstein. He sits 20 points ahead of Tony Schumacher, who's fourth, and 99 in front of the fifth place driver Darrell Russell.

Henkelman & Baca Motorsports is based in California and owned by Rick Henkelman, from San Jose, Calif., and David Baca, from Brentwood, Calif.

-h&bm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , David Baca , Cory McClenathan