Topeka: Cory McClenathan final qualifying summary

Qualifying: Cory McClenathan Session ...

Qualifying: Cory McClenathan

Session #1 Friday: Canceled
Session #2 Friday: Canceled
Session #1 Saturday: 4.626 seconds at 320.05 mph (#1)
Session #2 Saturday: 4.618 seconds at 322.42 mph (#2)

Rain washes out Friday, Cory McClenathan ends Saturday in 2nd

TOPEKA, Kan., May 25, 2002 --Persistent rain and thunderstorms washed out the opening day of qualifying for the Top Fuel class at the 14th annual NHRA O'Reilly Summer Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.).

On Friday, Cory McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., driver of the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster, and the other 18 Top Fuel drivers spent the majority of the day watching the precipitation. NHRA officials final called it a day around 9:30 p.m. (CT).

On Saturday, not only did the sun shine but so did McClenathan. In Saturday's first session he took top honors when he clicked off a stout pass of 4.626 seconds at 320.05 mph. His second run of the day was even better, a pass of 4.618 seconds, but unfortunately that pass was surpassed by Larry Dixon's 4.588 second run at 320.81 mph.

Dixon, from Indianapolis, nailed the #1 spot, while McClenathan held down second. Scott Weis' elapsed time of 4.994 was good for the 16th and final spot on the qualifying grid.

McClenathan will face Mitch King, from Galveston, Texas, in tomorrow's opening round of eliminations which gets underway at 10:30 a.m. (CT). King qualified 15th with a best elapsed time of 4.895 seconds. It will be the first-ever meeting in NHRA competition between the pair.

"Having only two runs sort of puts your back against the wall, said McClenathan, following Saturday's two qualifying rounds. "You don't want to go out there and be too aggressive. At the same time you want to be sure you qualify the best you can. It's just one of those weekends. We came right out of the box like gangbusters. Wes Cerny had it tuned up pretty good and put us in a really good position to try a few new things on the final pass.

"We tried some new parts we had for the last run and went out and ran even better than the first pass. We didn't quite get the number one spot, Larry Dixon beat us out for top qualifier, but we did pick up top speed thus far. Larry and Dick LaHaie really have their stuff together. They're doing a great job.

"We've got a pretty consistent race car right now, so we're pretty happy with this Henkelman and Baca Centennial Batteries Top Fuel Dragster. We even look like we got a good draw in the ladder for once. Even with the draw, we still have to go out and do our job tomorrow. There are 15 other drivers that want to win this thing."

McClenathan enters this weekend's NHRA O'Reilly Summer Nationals third in the POWERade Top Fuel point chase. He has 539 points, 277 points behind point leader Larry Dixon and 134 points behind Kenny Bernstein, who holds the second position.


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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Scott Weis , Cory McClenathan , Dick LaHaie , Mitch King