Columbus: Cory McClenathan final qualifying summary

Cory McClenathan qualifies third at Pontiac Excitement Nationals. HEBRON, OHIO -- Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, qualified in the third spot (4.617 seconds at 313.07 mph)...

Cory McClenathan qualifies third at Pontiac Excitement Nationals.

HEBRON, OHIO -- Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, qualified in the third spot (4.617 seconds at 313.07 mph) for tomorrow's eliminations at the NHRA Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio, just outside Columbus.

McClenathan recounted the four qualifying sessions:

"Basically all we did prior to qualifying was correct the clutch timer problem that sent us packing at the last race in Chicago. With that corrected, we went out in the opening qualifying session here and ran a 66 (4.66 seconds). We came back and everything looked fine, so we decided we were going to test a few things on Friday evening. We didn't sound real good and it went out and shook real hard, so I shut it off early.

"So we came back this morning (Saturday) and put the same motor we had in first run and we went right down through there. It ran a 61 (4.61 seconds), a really good elapsed time. No problems whatsoever. Everything felt great. So in the final session we felt we'd try to go a little bit quicker.

"For some reason it went out there and shook. I went ahead and pedaled it and it recovered real well. It was still trucking right along. Then all of a sudden, about 900 feet, it let go. I don't know if it dropped something, broke a rod, but it certainly hydraulic the motor. I'm just not sure yet what happen. It got my attention! I can tell you it made quite a mess. I mean it got our ignition, all our electrical wiring, all our air lines and destroyed a lot of parts in the motor. It looks like the block, the crank and the bearings are okay. So that good news. But before I could say what happen, I'd have to talk to (crew chief) Wes (Cerny) and right now he's up to his you know what trying to get this Henkelman & Baca car ready for tomorrow."

The Henkelman & Baca team will be burning the midnight oil getting ready for tomorrow's first round match up with Rhonda Hartman-Smith, from Williamston, S.C. Hartman-Smith qualified 14th with a pass of 4.844 seconds at 283.07 mph. In four meeting this season, McClenathan holds a 3-1 advantage.

McClenathan added, "Even with what happened, I still feel pretty confident going into tomorrow. This Henkelman & Baca crew is very professional and they'll have us ready when the green light comes on.

"It was real nice, Amato's crew came over and asked if we needed anything. The same with Larry Dixon. He came over and asked if I needed any safety equipment. He knows we are operating on a limited budget. It got my helmet and the shoulders on my firesuit a little bit. I came out okay, just my feeling hurt a little bit. Thanks to all the teams that offered their help and equipment."

-hbm-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Cory McClenathan
Teams Williams