Joliet II: Cory McClenathan Saturday summary

McClenathan runs career best time and speed; No. 2 at Chicago JOLIET, Ill. (September 27, 2003) - Running a career best elapsed time and speed and the second quickest time in the 50-plus years of NHRA record keeping, Cory McClenathan, driver of...

McClenathan runs career best time and speed; No. 2 at Chicago

JOLIET, Ill. (September 27, 2003) - Running a career best elapsed time and speed and the second quickest time in the 50-plus years of NHRA record keeping, Cory McClenathan, driver of the Darrell Gwynn-owned, NY Yankees/Berryman Products Top Fuel dragster, nailed down the No. 2 spot in the rain-shortened qualifying for the NHRA Carquest Auto Parts Nationals.

McClenathan blazed the Route 66 Raceway quarter-mile track in 4.463 seconds at 332.10 mph in Saturday's final qualifying session. His previous career best elapsed time, a 4.540 second run, came at Houston Raceway Park in the fall of 2000. He upped his career best speed in April of this year when the Riverside, Calif. driver recorded a 327.27 mph pass at Bristol.

With both of Friday's qualifying sessions canceled due to rain and thunderstorms, all professional competitors had only two qualifying sessions on Saturday to make the top 16 cars that will race for the event title in their respective category.

Prior to the start of Saturday's first qualifying session, Cory Mac indicated that he would be happy if the team could continue their consistent runs that they ran last weekend in Memphis.

After his pass, McClenathan was not only happy but also resided in the No. 7 qualifying position by virtue of a pass of 4.573 seconds at 323.27 mph with one qualifying session left. He then made the best of that final session with quick times and big speed, jumping to the second qualifying spot.

"Everything clicked - all the elements, the cool air and the incredible track conditions," said McClenathan, following his career best pass. "We can make more horsepower here than we can use. Todd (Smith) and (crew chief) John (Stewart) have been working hard to make this NY Yankees/Berryman Products dragster a better racecar. The last several races have shown the consistency we've been striving for and today, thanks to John, Todd and the crew, we saw the results of their hard work.

"You know I thought our 57 (4.57 second) pass was a good run this morning. I've never been quicker than a 4.54 second pass and have never run faster that 327 miles per hour in my life. Today pass was incredible. From half-track on the car was a whole new animal but it was a lot of fun. It's great to qualify that good and run those kind of numbers but let's see what we can do on race day."

McClenathan opening round opponent tomorrow will be Luigi Novelli, from Crete, Ill., who qualified 15th by running a career best pass of 4.669 seconds at 315.86 mph. The pair has met one time previously, with Cory Mac taking the win light.

A side note to today's record pass is that McClenathan has a chance, along with Doug Kalitta, from Ann Arbor, Mich., to set an NHRA national elapsed time national record should either run an elapsed time within one-percent of their runs today. If both run within one-percent then the driver with the lowest elapsed time would leave with the record. If neither run within the required one-percent then their times would not constitute a national record.

Cory Mac must run between 4.418 seconds and 4.507 second during tomorrow's eliminations, while Kalitta, who qualified No. 1 with an elapsed time of 4.428 seconds, the quickest run in the NHRA history books, must run an elapsed time between 4.383 seconds and 4.472 seconds to back up their numbers from today.

About Darrell Gwynn Racing:

Joining Darrell Gwynn Racing in 2003 is an impressive contingent of continuing marketing partners including the New York Yankees (currently celebrating their 100th anniversary in baseball), GMC, Mac Tools, MBNA Bank N.A., and Winnebago Industries. These fine companies will be complimented this year by an array of new team and driver marketing partners including Berryman Products, Centennial Batteries, Don Steves Chevrolet, Dyn-O-Mat, Fabtech Motorsports and Negley Electric.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Darrell Gwynn , Luigi Novelli , Cory Mac