Qualifying Accident Sidelines McClenathan before Eliminations in St. Louis A weekend that began on a high note Friday concluded much earlier than Cory McClenathan and the Carrier Boyz FRAM Boost Top Fuel team expected. A broken header...
Qualifying Accident Sidelines McClenathan before Eliminations in St. Louis
A weekend that began on a high note Friday concluded much earlier than Cory McClenathan and the Carrier Boyz FRAM Boost Top Fuel team expected.
A broken header caused a blown tire that led to a bent chassis and slight contact with the concrete guard wall in Saturday night's last qualifying run for Sunday's O'Reilly Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. And that, in turn, eventually sidelined McClenathan about 11 hours before the first round.
He did a masterful job keeping the orange and black dragster from hitting the wall harder than it did. The crew worked until 4 a.m. attempting to make repairs.
"There wasn't anything obviously wrong with the car," said crew chief Wes Cerny. "There were no broken welds. Looking at it, it didn't appear the chassis was bent severely. As we got the section repaired that was obviously ground down and we got the rear end back in the car, it looked as though the rear end wasn't in right. So we got our laser out, checked it with the front end and found out the rear end was six inches out of alignment.
"At that point, it became a very serious problem, so we looked for the problem area. It's not easily distinguishable. It is spread over the whole length of the car and it is not a simple fix, so I decided at that point we couldn' t run this car."
The team has a backup dragster in the hauler, but Cerny opted not to get it ready.
"To make it theoretically legal, it needed one chassis tube repaired," Cerny continued. "But, in fact, it's been repaired on the lower left hand side and still has the small-thickness wall tubing from the front of engine to the roll cage. I didn't feel comfortable with Cory in that car again."
The broken header "failed at the flange where it is held together with all of the other headers," added Cerny. "It just broke off and got underneath the tire."
"Connie Kalitta and Morgan Lucas (team owners) and (crew chief) Jimmy Walsh offered their backup cars for us to use," said McClenathan, who qualified seventh at 4.614 seconds. "We really appreciate their offers, but we wanted to concentrate on what we need to do to get our car ready for Denver (the next stop on the NHRA POWERade Series tour, July 14-16). We are lucky to have an extra week to work on everything."
If that wasn't enough bad news, McClenathan learned his father, Richard, was taken to an Orange County, Calif., hospital early Sunday morning for observation. "He is having some internal problems they needed to check out," he said.