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Cory Mac On Top in Houston

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 28 2009

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

oreilly-spring-natl-logoCory McClenathan impressed himself, and topped the Top Fuel field, when he grabbed the provisional No. 1 spot during the rain-plagued opening day of qualifications for the 22nd annual O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

Qualifying in four professional classes was limited to a single session, as a rain delay and the subsequent moisture residue halted Friday’s scheduled second round.

Cory Mac posted a 3.905-second pass at 313.00 mph in the FRAM Top Fuel Dragster to secure pole position under humid conditions. Meanwhile, Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car), Kurt Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) emerged atop their respective categories. 

Two rounds are scheduled for today to complete the 16-car fields. If McClenathan holds onto No. 1, it will be the 33rd of his career and second at HRP. McClenathan was preparing for his second pass during the evening session when a rain shower doused the racetrack.

“We had it tuned-up, we had more clutch in it, we were going to go for it (Friday night) because we were in that position. Why not?” McClenathan said. “It’s supposed to be cooler (today), and drier, it won’t be as humid, so we figured if we’ve got the shot…let’s work on our Friday night combination. Everybody made all the right calls, and I thought, ‘OK, we were going to get a shot at this.’ And the weather gods decided not to give us that shot.

 ”What happens is the dew point sets in and it gets wet out there and it will get dangerous. We don’t want anybody hurt, we don’t need to wreck any cars. It takes too much time to rebuild them. I think everybody made the right call.

“But that 3.90 was impressive to me for the conditions earlier.”

Force drove her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a 4.139-second run at 304. 46 mph to lead Funny Car. She is looking for her career fourth No. 1 qualifier and first of 2009.

“You know, with the temperature and the track, and being off for a couple of weeks, you never really know what it’s going to do,” Force said of her hot rod. “To have any kind of A to B run, we were happy. But to have that good of a run definitely gave us some confidence.”

Johnson drove his ACDelco Chevy to the head of the Pro Stock ladder in 6.678 seconds at 206.64 mph.

“Today’s run, you might as well throw that out the window because it’s probably going to be a tenth (of a second) better (today),” said Johnson,  poised to notch his 30th career No. 1 qualifier, fourth at HRP and second consecutive in this event. “We’re not worried about anyone but us. We’re the ones that are going to make it or break it, so we just have to do our job and see if we can light up that board.”

Krawiec paced Pro Stock Bike with a pass in 7.004 seconds at 190.57 mph on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 28 2009
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