Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Rick Henkelman and David Baca -- Owners NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel Dragster Cory McClenathan -- Driver For McClenathan: Last time $200,000; This time the win is enough. BRISTOL Tenn., April 25, 2002...
Henkelman & Baca Motorsports
Rick Henkelman and David Baca -- Owners
NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series
Top Fuel Dragster Cory McClenathan -- Driver
For McClenathan: Last time $200,000; This time the win is enough.
BRISTOL Tenn., April 25, 2002 - The last time Cory McClenathan raced at Bristol Dragway he walked away with $200,000 when he defeated Ron Capps in the final round of the Winston Shootout, a special non-point event on the 2000 NHRA season schedule. In a special format, the event paired Top Fuel dragsters against Funny Cars.
Last season, McClenathan was not among the competitors at the inaugural Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals, as he missed all but one race on the 2001 NHRA schedule due to lack of a ride and/or sponsorship.
This year, McClenathan, was tapped just prior to the season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals to drive the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster. The California driver and California-based Henkelman & Baca Motorsports have been the surprise team in Top Fuel after five events on 2002 NHRA POWERade® Drag Racing Series.
Entering this weekend's Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn., McClenathan holds down the fourth position in the NHRA POWERade® Drag Racing Series point standings. He has 355 points, just 20 point behind third and 66 points out of second. Larry Dixon, with four final rounds in five races and three wins, leads the Top Fuel point standings with 486 points.
This year, although there isn't $200,000 up for grabs to win the Top Fuel trophy, McClenathan wants the win just the same.
"I have a fondness for Bristol Dragway since the first day I laid eyes on the place," said McClenathan. "Actually, that was at the first Winston Shootout when (John) Force won. We got to come back the next year and beat the Funny Cars when I beat Ron Capps. That was definitely a good day. But I just love the facility (Bristol Dragway).
"They did an excellent job putting the place together. The stands are awesome. The fans that come to watch the racing here are really excited about seeing drag racing. I wish all the facilities were this nice.
"Walking away with $200,000 was nice the last time we were here, but this time we will be happy with the win no matter the dollar payoff. We always want to put this Henkelman and Baca car on the poll, but we're trying to be realist and are now just trying to put ourselves firmly in the field, preferable in the top half. From there we just want to go rounds. No matter the time of the year, points are always important. Right now it seems like our consistency is paying off although we need to dig a little deeper in the semis.
"We've been able to do that once and make it to the final round. A few other times, basically by the hands of Kenny Bernstein, we've kind of been denied that spot (the final round). We need to reach down deep and pull one out in the semifinals like we did in Vegas and be able to get to that final round.
The important thing is that by going to the semifinals at most races, we are gaining points for the POWERade championship. We'll do our best to keep the momentum going here at Bristol."
In closing, Cory Mac said he wanted to thank Don Steves Chevrolet in LaHabra, Calif., for the new tow vehicle -- a Chevy Suburban -- that will be in use beginning at Bristol. "Welcome aboard and a special thanks to Tom Steves, John Steves and Tracy Allen for their assistance in making this a reality."