Reading: Cory McClenathan Sunday summary

McClenathan hopes points fall his way at Lucas Oil Nationals MOHNTON, Pa. -- Cory McClenathan, driver of the Henkelman & Baca Centennial Batteries Top Fuel Dragster, is one of only two Top Fuel drivers competing in today's eliminations that...

McClenathan hopes points fall his way at Lucas Oil Nationals

MOHNTON, Pa. -- Cory McClenathan, driver of the Henkelman & Baca Centennial Batteries Top Fuel Dragster, is one of only two Top Fuel drivers competing in today's eliminations that have previously won at Maple Grove Raceway, the site of this weekend's NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals. The Anaheim, Calif., driver won here in 1997 when he defeated Kenny Bernstein.

Bernstein is the other active Top Fuel driver in this weekend's field to win at the Pennsylvania track, claiming the titles in 1992 and 1996.

McClenathan's route to the finals today began with Darrell Russell, driver of the Bilstein Engine Flush Dragster owned by five-time Top Fuel champ Joe Amato. In all of 2002, McClenathan and Russell have met three times, with Russell having captured two victories. The last time the pair met was in mid-July, when McClenathan finished runner-up to Russell in the final round at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals in Denver.

The eliminations were plagued with intermittent rain and controversy when Doug Herbert and Clay Millican began with a staging duel that resulted in a lengthy time of having drivers, including McClenathan, behind them sit and wait. When it came time for McClenathan to race, it was over at the start. McClenathan deep-staged, then red-lighted, then found the front of his car rising so he wisely shut it down to race another day. This gave Russell an uncontested win light.

"Everybody has to run his or her own race, but there is no reason to disrupt those behind you especially when weather is a factor," said McClenathan referring to the staring line antics between Herbert and Millican. "They apparently let past problems between them carry over to today's race.

"As to my problems, when I went to stage the car I deep staged. It wasn't intentional. This caused me to lose my concentration and what I was trying to do and I left way too soon. It did a wheel stand and I let it go a little bit. It started coming back down and I hit the gas again so it wouldn't hurt anything. The car's fine. Let's just hope this doesn't hurt us too much in the points. We need to continue to be in a position to finish in the top three in the POWERade point standings."

Points will have to wait as racing has been postponed due to persistent rains until Monday at 10:30 a.m.. Only the first round of Top Fuel and four of eight Funny Car pairs finished action today.

The Lucas Oil Nationals was the first of three races on three consecutive weekends for the POWERade Drag Racing Series. Next up for Cory Mac and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team is the middle of the three events, the 15th annual NHRA O'Reilly Midsouth Nationals presented by Pennzoil which unfolds September 19-22 at Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park.

-h&bm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Clay Millican , Kenny Bernstein , Joe Amato , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac