MCCLENATHAN GOES TO SEMIS IN BRAINERD BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16,2009) - Cory McClenathan was a Top Fuel semifinal finisher for the third time in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today at the 28th annual NHRA Nationals at ...
MCCLENATHAN GOES TO SEMIS IN BRAINERD
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16,2009) - Cory McClenathan was a Top Fuel semifinal finisher for the third time in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today at the 28th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
Racing action was delayed for several hours because of rain showers, but once competition began, McClenathan tore through the field driving a very strong and consistent FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster until he met up with the eventual event winner Morgan Lucas in the semifinal.
McClenathan defeated Tim Cullinan in the opening round of eliminations with a stunning 3.850-second pass at 318.32 mph, which he surpassed in the second round when he defeated Shawn Langdon with the event's quickest elapsed time of 3.811/315.56. Despite having lane choice in the semifinals, he was simply outrun by Lucas, who posted a winning 3.831/302.01 to McClenathan's 3.846/316.45. Margin of victory: 11 feet.
"I can't complain," said McClenathan, who held on to fifth place in the point standings. "This FRAM Tough Guard car just keeps going rounds. Obviously, we want to go to the final, we want to win a race, and this would have been a great place to do it.
"I thought we had the car to beat today, although I might be partial to my FRAM guys. This car has been getting better and it's showing each and every race that it can run the numbers with everybody else in any conditions.
"Today it started running big speed, and we saw that first round. That 318 mph was pretty stout in the conditions, and then to run 315 mph in the second round just confirmed that (crew chiefs) Todd (Okuhara) and Phil (Shuler) are doing a great job.
"In the semis we set up the car for what we thought the track could hold and Morgan just ran a little bit better. That's all there is to it. It was a good drag race from start to finish and I'll continue to say I think I have THE team that I would want to have going into the final part of the season." The Countdown to 1 playoffs, for which McClenathan clinched a spot this weekend, begins following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend for the final six events of the year.
"We would like to collect a win before we get to Indy," added "Cory Mac," who is still looking for this first season victory, "but it's most important from thereon. Everybody knows that and everybody knows how much I emphasize that. I still think we're going in the right direction.
"It was (team owner) Don and Sarah Schumacher's 10th anniversary this weekend, so I'm honored that they stayed here and hung out with us. They're a great couple and they do a lot for us. Their daughter Megan has been coming to a lot of races and my daughter Courtney's been coming to a lot of races. So, it's good to see the families all hanging out together and having a good time."
Next up is the 25th annual NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Aug. 14-16.