Las Vegas: Cory McClenathan final qualifying report

McClenathan No. 2 at Vegas LAS VEGAS -- Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team continue to be the surprise of the 2002 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. McClenathan, who sat out all but one event...

McClenathan No. 2 at Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team continue to be the surprise of the 2002 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

McClenathan, who sat out all but one event last season, returned to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first time since the 2000 event and made the crowd filling the quarter-mile drag strip stand up and take notice. McClenathan and the California-based Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team held down the No. 2 spot after qualifying ended on the first day of qualifying.

Reflecting on his two Friday's runs, Cory Mac, as he is called by both peers and fans alike, said, "We changed a lot of ignition things. Or, I should say (crew chief) Wes (Cerny) made a lot of changes. I just watch. Our biggest thing is that we just wanted to go out there and go from A to B and do it consistently. Well, we just hit it right that first run and ran that 67 (4.67 seconds) and that really put us in the play to go after it in the night session. In the cooler evening air, we picked up 7 (seven hundredth of a second) and ran a 4.60 second pass. I'm ecstatic about that.

"Wes Cerny and the guys did a great job. We just went out and didn't do anything stupid and the numbers came. We may not be No. 1 but No. 2 is a great place to be."

On Saturday, with the track temperature exceeding 120 degrees, McClenathan drove the Henkelman & Baca dragster to the quickest time of the third qualifying session - - a 4.750 seconds at 305.63.

Having nothing to gain by running the final qualifying session, the team elected to sit out the last run. Rick Henkelman, owner/partner, explained their decision, "We don't believe there is anything we can learn from running the final session that we haven't already learned. Therefore, we are better off focusing on what we're going to do tomorrow during eliminations. We think that everything that can be done, has been done. We're good just the way we are."

McClenathan ended qualifying in the second spot.

Qualifying: Cory McClenathan
Session #1 Friday: 4.676 seconds at 315.64 mph (# 2)
Session #2 Friday: 4.608 seconds at 320.89 mph (#2)
Session #1 Saturday: 4.750 seconds at 305.63 mph (#2)
Session #2 Saturday: Did Not Run (#2)

-hbm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac