Brainerd: Cory McClenathan final report

MCCLENATHAN IS RUNNER-UP TO TEAMMATE SCHUMACHER IN BRAINERD BRAINERD, Minn. (August 10, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan reached his third Top Fuel final round of the season, and the 53rd of his career, at the 27th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd ...

MCCLENATHAN IS RUNNER-UP TO TEAMMATE SCHUMACHER IN BRAINERD

BRAINERD, Minn. (August 10, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan reached his third Top Fuel final round of the season, and the 53rd of his career, at the 27th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, racing the FRAM Top Fuel dragster into the runner-up spot to his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the U.S. Army car. His and the FRAM team's solid effort moved him into No. 4 in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel point standings.

After clinching a place in the Countdown to 1 playoffs when he qualified No. 3, McClenathan began the day by dismissing Luigi Novelli with the second quickest elapsed time of the first round: 3.897 seconds at 309.84 mph. He then defeated Bob Vandergriff Jr. in the quarterfinals with a 3.939/304.74, and continued his torrid pace in the semifinals by taking out Steve Torrence with a 3.951/305.36.

The final round was a rematch of the finals at the season-opener in Pomona (Calif.) in February, and the outcome was the same. In a close race, Schumacher claimed the victory with a 3.865/310.05 pass to McClenathan's close but losing 3.900/306.74. With this triumph, Schumacher captured the 113th national-event win for Don Schumacher Racing.

"The day went as planned: let's have the right people go out so we can start moving up in the points," said McClenathan. "Everyone was talking about clinching a spot in the Countdown before Indy, but that still doesn't deny the fact that I still want to win drag races and make a statement and catch up to my teammate (who is No. 1 in the standings). That's really what we were looking at, just moving up in the points.

"And we did that today and we made some ground up in some areas. That U.S. Army car was bad all weekend long, that's all there is to it. (Crew chief) Mike Green and (assistant crew chief) Neal Strausbaugh and all the FRAM guys are awesome. They had my back all day. My lights weren't good and didn't come around until the semis and the final. Tony and I were awfully close leaving the starting line together and it was a great drag race. We ran a 3.90 and they ran a 3.86 and it's just one of those things. They're a great team and they're tough to beat.

"It was a great day for DSR all the way around," added McClenathan. "To have both Top Fuel cars in the final makes me very proud to be a part of this organization and I want to thank FRAM, Prestone, Autolite and Bendix. Everything is working just the way it's supposed to and if I can't win, my teammate should."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Luigi Novelli , Bob Vandergriff , Don Schumacher , Steve Torrence