Topeka: Scott Palmer race report

Scott Palmer feels like a winner despite first-round loss TOPEKA, Kan., May 25, 2003 - The results of Sunday's O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka list Scott Palmer as losing in the first round, but in his mind Palmer came out a...

Scott Palmer feels like a winner despite first-round loss

TOPEKA, Kan., May 25, 2003 - The results of Sunday's O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka list Scott Palmer as losing in the first round, but in his mind Palmer came out a winner.

He qualified for his first NHRA POWERade Series event in his fourth try this year and he raced veteran Cory McClenathan in the opening round, all positive accomplishments for the rookie Top Fuel driver from Highlandville, Mo.

"Just qualifying made our whole weekend," said Palmer of his O'Reilly Top Fuel dragster crew. "We were all happy to do that. This was the smoothest weekend we've had."

Pre-race testing and a new supercharger invigorated the car's performance. Palmer qualified 14th with a 4.883-second, 287.90-mph run.

In the first round, he and McClenathan were side-by-side until Palmer's car began spinning the tires, enabling McClenathan to pull away. McClenathan's engine broke near the finish line and Palmer was closing in when his car's blower belt broke.

"The car got loose and moved toward the center line on that run, and then the engine dropped a cylinder," recalled Palmer. "I saw his engine blow but that's when our blower belt came off."

McClenathan, the No. 3 qualifier, won with a 4.848 at 277.43 to Palmer's 5.133 at 221.16.

"Today it felt like we had a Top Fuel dragster," Palmer added. "We made more horsepower than we ever had before."

Palmer and crew will return to NHRA competition next month in the Craftsman Nationals at St. Louis.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan , Scott Palmer