Dallas: Cory McClenathan,

McClenathan takes Berryman B-12 Chemtooler Top Fueler to final round. ENNIS, Texas -- Cory McClenathan, driver of the Henkelman & Baca Berryman B-12 Chemtooler Top Fuel Dragster, advanced to the final round before finishing runner-up at the NHRA...

McClenathan takes Berryman B-12 Chemtooler Top Fueler to final round.

ENNIS, Texas -- Cory McClenathan, driver of the Henkelman & Baca Berryman B-12 Chemtooler Top Fuel Dragster, advanced to the final round before finishing runner-up at the NHRA O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec.

McClenathan met Tony Schumacher in a pivotal first round match-up. Schumacher, who qualified seventh, is third in the NHRA POWERade point standing, while McClenathan is sixth, 85 points behind Schumacher.

It was as advertised -- a drag race. Even at the lights, the two dragsters stayed glued together all the way down the Texas Motorplex quarter-mile. Through the speedtraps both cars recorded identical speeds of 322.00 mph. But in the most important stat of all, McClenathan's B-12 Chemtooler Top Fueler reached the finish line first. Cory Mac recorded an elapsed time of 4.588 seconds to a 4.607 seconds pass for Schumacher. The margin of victory for McClenathan was a minute .021 seconds.

McClenathan's opponent in round two was Doug Herbert, who qualified second and defeated Mike Smith in the first round. Herbert gained a slight advantage at the green but McClenathan had made up the difference by 60-feet and raced away to the win. This matched Cory Mac against Rhonda Hartman-Smith in the semifinals.

Hartman-Smith broke on the burnout giving McClenathan a free ride into the final round against Doug Kalitta. This will be his third final of 2002 and 41st of his career. McClenathan has 26 career wins entering this final round.

It was all Kalitta's race as McClenathan smoked the big Goodyears and could only watch as Kalitta took the win light and the Top Fuel trophy as event winner.

"You never like to lose and we definitely need a win," said McClenathan, " but it was great to go the finals with all the Berryman employees and guest here at the race. This is Berryman Products hometown and we're happy to have represented them this weekend.

"The plus side of this race is that by going to the final round we gained POWERade points this weekend. With just two races left it put us in a position to finish in the top three providing we have good showings at Las Vegas and Pomona."

Larry Dixon (1797 points) and Kenny Bernstein (1689 points) remained first and second respectively in the point standings and lead the remainder of the field by a large margin. Kalitta moved into third and now has 1313 points, 10 ahead of Tony Schumacher (1303) in fourth. McClenathan moved to fifth and now has 1277 points.

Next event for McClenathan and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team will be the 2nd annual NHRA AC-Delco Las Vegas Nationals which will unfold October 24-27 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event will be the Top Fuel debut for Henkelman & Baca team owner/partner David Baca. Baca, a standout Top Alcohol Dragster driver, earned his Top Fuel license just prior to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

-h&bm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac , Mike Smit