McClenathan, Bazemore, Anderson and Savoie Earn NHRA POWERade Series Victories at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals COMMERCE, Ga. -- Cory McClenathan snapped a two-year winless streak Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA ...
McClenathan, Bazemore, Anderson and Savoie Earn NHRA POWERade Series Victories at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
COMMERCE, Ga. -- Cory McClenathan snapped a two-year winless streak Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac at Atlanta Dragway.
Whit Bazemore, Greg Anderson and Angelle Savoie also were winners in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the seventh of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
McClenathan, who last won at Pomona Raceway in 2002, outran Clay Millican for the Top Fuel victory, the 28th of his career. McClenathan's Berryman/Carrier Boyz dragster crossed the finish line in 4.651 seconds at 320.74 mph, just ahead of Millican's charging 104+ Octane Boost dragster, which sped a 4.700 at 315.93.
"There comes a time when you start to doubt yourself and begin to wonder if you will ever win another one of these races," said McClenathan, who defeated Scott Weis, David Grubnic and Scott Kalitta to advance to the final.
"I admit when I woke up this morning I didn't have a feeling like I was going to win this race," he continued. "But as the day went on and I saw how we were running I started to gain confidence. We weren't really the quickest car out here today, but we were the most consistent. We ran 4.60s all day and let the other cars make mistakes."
McClenathan moved to fourth with the victory, 200 behind leader Tony Schumacher, who was upset in the first round.
Bazemore scored his first Funny Car victory of the season and moved into second place in the series points standings, defeating teammate Gary Scelzi's Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T in the final round.
Bazemore, who outran Ron Capps, Del Worsham and Tim Wilkerson in the first three rounds, raced to a final round effort of 5.025 at 299.80 in his Matco Tools Stratus. Scelzi's machine lost traction at the start and limped across the finish line in 10.847 at 90.59.
It was his second victory at the track he calls home.
"To win here twice is awesome," said Bazemore, who grew up in Atlanta. "It is always emotional for me when I win here because this is where I was introduced to drag racing as a kid. It's great to be able to live a dream."
With the win, he trimmed Del Worsham's points lead to 51.
"Trying to win a championship is a learning process," said Bazemore, who finished second in points in 2003 and 2001. "I've learned over the years you have to just get up, dust yourself off and keep after it. The key is consistency and we had that today."
Anderson earned his fifth consecutive victory in Pro Stock and 22nd of his career, driving his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.812 at 203.00 to defeat Larry Morgan's Team Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T, which posted a 6.850 at 202.58. Anderson beat Mike Edwards, Dave Connolly and Jason Line in earlier rounds.
The victory puts Anderson in exclusive company as only the second Pro Stock driver in NHRA history to win five consecutive races in a season (Bob Glidden, 1978). The record for most consecutive wins in a season for any category is 8, set by the late Dave Schultz in 1994 in Pro Stock Bike.
"Streaks are nice and records are neat, but you can't focus on that stuff," said Anderson of his sixth win of the season. "You have to look at the big picture, and that's the championship. We overcame a lot of hurdles this weekend and the team worked overtime at the shop to get our primary motor that we hurt on Friday ready for today. This was one of the toughest races I have had in a while. I didn't have the dominant car and I wanted to see if the driver could step up. This was a really satisfying win."
Anderson increased his points lead to 243 over Kurt Johnson, who failed to make the call in the semifinals when his car had engine problems at the starting line.
Savoie claimed her first Pro Stock Bike victory of the season and 32nd of her career on her U.S. Army Suzuki, posting a 7.119 at 191.59 to defeat Shawn Gann, who clocked a 7.248 at 186.15 on his Gann Speed Suzuki.
"After all of the struggles we've been through now I remember how good it feels to win, and it's a great feeling," Savoie said. "I'm really, really happy. This was a perfect weekend for me."
Savoie moved to sixth overall with the win, 49 behind leader Andrew Hines.
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the seventh annual NHRA Route 66 Nationals, May 20-23 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.