Bristol: Cory McClenathan eliminations summary

Freak burnout leads to quarterfinal loss for Cory Mac. Remains in top five in points. BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 27, 2003) -- One year ago at this race, Cory McClenathan, driver of the Darrell Gwynn Racing/NY Yankees/Berryman Products Dragster,...

Freak burnout leads to quarterfinal loss for Cory Mac.
Remains in top five in points.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 27, 2003) -- One year ago at this race, Cory McClenathan, driver of the Darrell Gwynn Racing/NY Yankees/Berryman Products Dragster, drove for Henkelman & Baca Motorsports, owned by Rick Henkelman and David Baca.

His first round opponent at today's third annual NHRA Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals was his former owner David Baca. McClenathan qualified ninth, Baca eighth. It is their first head-to-head meeting since Baca received his Top Fuel license in August of 2002.

McClenathan gained an .051 second advantage at the light and parlayed that to a win with a margin of victory of .011 seconds. "It's tough being the eighth and ninth qualifier and being the first pair out. It's doubly tough running your old boss and good friend, David Baca. I waited and we got up there together. A good clean race. That team does a great job and David is going to be a great driver. We didn't take them lightly and I was fortunate to win," said McClenathan, of Riverside, Calif.

A freak and rare occurrence happened in McClenathan's second round meeting with Brandon Bernstein. McClenathan explained, "We started doing the burnout and all of a sudden the motor quit in the middle of the burnout. So I put in the clutch and moved over toward the wall thinking we kicked the rods out. The engine was barely idling. I kept looking for something wrong like the fuel shut off, but everything looked alright on the dash. I reached up and hit the air shutoff (kill switch), which is a safety measure that NHRA has mandated in case of trouble on the track. As soon as I touched the switch and hit it down, the car started back up. So I went on and backed up and did my normal deal (starting procedures).

"Unfortunately, after talking with (crew chief) John Stewart I found that we basically cooked (welded) the clutch on the burnout. On the launch at the start of the race with Brandon (Bernstein) the clutch wanted to lock up right away. That took us out of the race. That was a bad thing because Brandon was in trouble down the track and ran only a 5.17 second pass. It could have been ours."

Brandon Bernstein defeated Doug Herbert to take the Top Fuel crown and by winning gained the Top Fuel point lead. McClenathan remained in the top five in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standing. He currently has 352 points, good for fifth. The top five in the Top Fuel point standings are:
1.) Brandon Bernstein with 537 points; 2.) Larry Dixon with 516 points; 3.) Doug Kalitta with 424 points; 4.) Doug Herbert with 361 points; and 5.) Cory McClenathan with 352 points.

There is less than a week before the Darrell Gwynn Racing/NY Yankees/Berryman Products Team begins the next race. The 23 annual NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals unfolds at Atlanta Dragway May 1-4.

-dgr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Doug Kalitta , David Baca , Cory McClenathan , Brandon Bernstein , Darrell Gwynn , Cory Mac