Denver: Cory McClenathan final qualifying summary

Four consistent runs qualify Cory McClenathan fourth. MORRISON, Colo. -- Qualifying is complete at Bandimere Speedway, the site of the 23rd annual NHRA Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, the 13th of 23 national events on the NHRA POWERade® Drag...

Four consistent runs qualify Cory McClenathan fourth.

MORRISON, Colo. -- Qualifying is complete at Bandimere Speedway, the site of the 23rd annual NHRA Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, the 13th of 23 national events on the NHRA POWERade® Drag Racing Series and the first race of the "Western Swing" -- three consecutive weekend of competition in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.

Bandimere Speedway, in Morrison, Colo., a stone's throw west of Denver, is a scenic raceway nestled in the smaller mountains that are the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. The Bandimere quarter-mile drag strip is 5,860 feet above sea level. The Pro Stock cars and motorcycles are greatly affected by the thin air at this altitude as is anything with a normal aspirated engines and that includes the human body. The superchargers on the engines of nitro fuel cars assist to overcome the lack of oxygen in the air and thus the Top Fuel and Funny Cars are able to run closer to the numbers they run at lower altitudes than the other professional classes in the Pro Stock categories.

Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, negotiated the Bandimere quarter-mile with a best elapsed time (E.T.), out of four qualifying passes, of 4.834 seconds at 300.20 mph to qualify fourth.

"We did what we set out to do -- run consistent. You have to say 4.99, 4.84 and 4.91 (seconds) is pretty darn consistent. Now if we can run our race tomorrow and not beat ourselves, we have a chance to be there in the later rounds. If you're there in the later rounds you give yourself a chance to win," said McClenathan.

Not only did McClenathan run consistent, he had the quickest time in the third round of qualifying -- an E.T. of 4.910 seconds. As a result of that run, together with the soaring air temperature and track temperature, the Henkelman & Baca Team elected to pass up the final run of qualifying.

"Sometimes when you're not as well financed as some of the other teams, you sit out when the conditions aren't right. It's hot and nasty out here, so we thought it was in our best interest to pass the last session," added McClenathan.

McClenathan, who has won this event twice (1997-98), now sets his sights on victory number three at Bandimere Speedway. In the opening round of elimination tomorrow, he will bring the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Centennial Batteries Dragster to the starting line against John Smith, from Williamston, S.C. Smith qualified 13th with an elapsed time of 5.118 seconds. Doug Kalitta, from Ann Arbor, Mich., nailed down the top qualifying sport by virtue of a pass of 4.723 seconds at 313.66 mph.

Henkelman & Baca Motorsports is based in California and owned by Rick Henkelman, from San Jose, Calif., and David Baca, from Brentwood, Calif.

-h&bm-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , David Baca , Cory McClenathan
Teams Williams