Madison: Cory McClenathan Saturday summary

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.

-cbr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan , Morgan Lucas , Connie Kalitta