Archive for Monday, October 3, 1994

HEARTLAND PARK

October 3, 1994

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— Cruz cruised, Cory Mac led a double Big Mac attack and "The Snake" was snakebit.

The Cruz Pedregon-driven funny car and Cory McClenathan's top fuel dragster -- cars sponsored primarily by McDonald's -- won, while Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, making his final appearance in Topeka, finished runner-up at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals on Sunday at Heartland Park.

An event-record 94,000 fans attended the four-day affair.

Pedregon beat John Force in the funny car finals. Pedregon covered the quarter-mile strip in 5.082 seconds, 302.82 mph. Force, who set NHRA records for both elapsed time (4.939 seconds) and miles per hour (300.80) earlier in the weekend and clinched the Winston series title, snapped a drive shaft in the finals, allowing Pedregon an easy win.

"It was a great day for us," Pedregon said. "We hung in there all day. We rolled the dice. We threw the kitchen sink at it, so to speak. ... But if he hadn't broke, I wouldn't be here."

Force, the defending Winston funny car champion, had won nine titles this season.

"I think it was kind of destiny or sharing the wealth," Force said. "That drive shaft's as big as my arm. That shows you the kind of horsepower this Chevrolet puts out. It's kind of neat. Now I can get to the bar early. I don't have to stick around and take pictures. It was planned."

McClenathan didn't plan to meet Prudhomme in the final, but when he did, he simply outmuscled him. McClenathan's top fueler made a championship pass at 4.791 seconds, 302.82 mph. Prudhomme's run was made in 4.793 seconds, 280.02 mph.

The McDouble -- Golden Arches cars winning on the same day -- was the first since 1992.

"I'm so happy to be here, you have no idea," McClenathan said. "I feel like I'm walking on air."

Apparently, there's no love lost between McClenathan, a 31-year-old from Placentia, Calif., and Prudhomme, a 53-year-old drag-racing legend from Granada Hills, Calif.

"Me and Don have this hate-love relationship," McClenathan said. "As a matter of fact, I owe Don a couple. It feels good to give him one back. Don's a class act. He's going out in fine style, fine fashion. It will be a big loss for NHRA.

"If I had my choice, he's not the one I would have picked to meet in the final. We're a lot alike. We want to win."

Prudhomme, a four-time Winston series funny car champion, has announced he will retire at the end of the season. He moved into second place in the top fuel series race, behind Scott Kalitta with just two races left in the 18-race series.

"It was a good race for us," Prudhomme said. "We made it to the finals, and that's something we haven't done here before. ... Wish I could say more. I'll be back next year, as a car owner."

Scott Geoffrion won the pro stock title with a final-round pass of 7.144 seconds, 194.00 mph. Mopar teammate and runner-up Darrell Alderman made his finals pass in 7.194 seconds, 192.30 mph.

Geoffrion became the first driver to win two NHRA titles at Heartland Park in one year. He also won at the Western Auto nationals back in June.

"Right now, my car's making good, consistent runs," Geoffrion said. "That's what you need to win drag races these days."

David Schultz won the pro stock motorcycle title with a finals pass of 7.762 seconds, 173.57 mph. Schultz already has clinched the Winston series title.

"This was really a high-pressure day for me," said Schultz, who has lost just one round all season. "Last year, when we got a streak like this going, I stubbed my toe."

Other winners Sunday, with hometowns and final-round stats, were:

  • Top alcohol dragster -- Tom Conway, Seminole, Okla., 5.824 seconds, 238.85 mph.
  • Top alcohol funny car -- Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., 5.985 seconds, 232.55 mph.
  • Competition -- Richard Bourke, Piermont, N.Y., 6.955 seconds, 190.15 mph.
  • Super stock -- Rock Running, Lapeer, Mich., 11.095 seconds, 120.87 mph.
  • Stock eliminator -- Bradley Grant, Great Bend, 11.055 seconds, 118.56 mph.
  • Super comp -- Mark Grame, Overland Park, 8.889 seconds, 163.60 mph.
  • Super gas -- Jim Cappiello, Willis, Texas, 10.310 seconds, 155.84 mph.
  • Super street -- Edmond Richardson, Goodlettsville, Tenn., 10.933 seconds, 122.79 mph.

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