Topeka: Cory McClenathan preview

McClenathan wants points. TOPEKA, Kan., May 21 2002 - It's the second of three consecutive weekends for the NHRA POWERade® Drag Racing Series, as Cory McClenathan and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster move this weekend ...

McClenathan wants points.

TOPEKA, Kan., May 21 2002 - It's the second of three consecutive weekends for the NHRA POWERade® Drag Racing Series, as Cory McClenathan and the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster move this weekend to Heartland Park Topeka for the 14th annual NHRA O'Reilly Summer Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec. The event unfolds May 23-26.

Entering this weekend's event, McClenathan, or Cory Mac as he is called by friends, peers and fans, holds the third position in the POWERade Top Fuel point standings. The thirty-nine-year-old driver, from Anaheim, Calif., who was born just south of Topeka in Wichita, currently has 539 points -- 277 points behind point leader Larry Dixon. McClenathan is 134 points out of second, which is held by Kenny Bernstein. Behind Cory Mac, rounding out the top five, are Tony Schumacher and Doug Kalitta.

"Not only do we have to go rounds here at Topeka to make up some ground on the two beer cars (driven by Larry Dixon and Kenny Bernstein) but we have to go rounds to stay ahead of Tony Schumacher and Doug Kalitta," said McClenathan, reflecting on the point standings.

"Schumacher is only one round behind. Anyone can get hot at any time. Just look at what Dixon has done through eight events. And when he's not going to the final, Bernstein is. You have to be on top of your game every race. As tight as this race is, you have to get every point available to you and that's not always easy. We want points and lots of them. It means we're doing good. None or little points mean the opposite."

"This Henkelman and Baca dragster has struggled a little the last several races but crew chief Wes Cerny and crew will get this turned around and we'll pick up right where we were several races ago.

"I like Heartland Park. I've had several #1s here and won a couple times, too. I would like nothing better than to take this Henkelman and Baca dragster all the way to the winner's circle this weekend.

As McClenathan said, "he likes Heartland Park Topeka." Although he didn't race in Topeka last year due to lack of sponsorship and/or a ride, McClenathan has three #1 qualifying positions here (1992-1994) and has won the event twice (1994 and 1998) and was runner-up once (1993).

McClenathan feels the Henkelman & Baca Motorsports team, owned by veteran drivers Rick Henkelman, from San Jose, Calif., and David Baca, from Brentwood, Calif., will be back on track when professional qualifying begins Friday. "Wes Cerny and crew have gone through everything since last weekend, especially the clutch. Based on the experience and knowledge this team has, we expect a really good outing for us in Topeka. We just want to go into this race, qualify, and go rounds. The win would be the icing on the cake," said McClenathan.

-h&bm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , David Baca , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac