Cory McClenathan is back on top, qualifying ...
Cory McClenathan is back on top, qualifying #1
JOLIET, Ill (October 2, 2004)- After a tough first qualifying session and a rain-out, Cory McClenathan, driver of the Berryman Products/CARQUEST Top Fuel Dragster, shot the team to the #1 spot at the 4th annual NHRA CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals.
The last run of the weekend was nothing short of astounding. McClenathan is the first driver to run in the 4.40's since the new 85 percent nitro fuel mixture rule was put into effect back in July.
This is McClenathan's 29th time qualifying in the No. 1 position in his career as a top fuel driver.
"I was overly excited down there at the finish; I didn't even know what to say," McClenathan said. "CARQUEST is on our car this weekend; this is huge for them. Doug Kalitta ran in the 49's but we did just a tick better than they did, and that's a first in a long time. I'm ecstatic."
The crew had been working on the clutch program for a while now but just had not been able to work it together with the horsepower.
"The conditions here are just phenomenal. So we decided, after first round this morning, that we would fire a shot at it [mixing clutch program and horsepower] and see if it would stick," crew chief Todd Smith said. "We didn't have anything to lose so we just went for it."
Depending on weather conditions and opponents, the crew may have to alter a few things but Smith says they really aren't planning on it.
"For the most part the car will stay like it is. We'll have to race the race track," Smith said. "If we have to soften it up a little bit, we will, but we don't want to be overaggressive and smoke the tires."
Last year, here in Joliet, McClenathan managed to also run in the 4.40's, when he ran a pass of 4.46 seconds. They were not looking to run quite so good this weekend, so that run was better than expected.
"When the weather is this cool and the track conditions are this good, you can do whatever you want; pretty much throw the trailer at it," McClenathan said. "We didn't expect to run that good; we were aiming for around 4.52 or 4.53. Once again it jumped up and surprised us."
In the first round of eliminations tomorrow, McClenathan will match up against Morgan Lucas (#16), who qualified with a run 4.716 seconds at 310.41 mph.