Bristol: Cory McClenathan final report

MCCLENATHAN SUFFERS FIRST-ROUND DEFEAT IN BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 18, 2008) -- FRAM Top Fuel dragster driver Cory McClenathan lost a disappointing first round of eliminations today at the NHRA Thunder Valley National at Bristol Dragway....

MCCLENATHAN SUFFERS FIRST-ROUND DEFEAT IN BRISTOL

BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 18, 2008) -- FRAM Top Fuel dragster driver Cory McClenathan lost a disappointing first round of eliminations today at the NHRA Thunder Valley National at Bristol Dragway. After making four solid qualifying runs, McClenathan was unable to advance despite making a decent run.

McClenathan squared off against Hillary Will in that contest, the first time the pair has been matched up since Gainesville, which McClenathan won. Cory Mac - as he is known to his fans - had the jump off the starting line with a .069 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Will's .079, but was forced to pedal the throttle at the 100-ft. mark following tire shake. Will drove by to take the victory with a 4.555-second elapsed time at 320.43 mph to McClenathan's 4.638/329.34.

"We had a very consistent race car during the weekend," said McClenathan, who entered the race fifth in the point standings. "To come out and run 4.66, 4.61, 4.60 and 4.61, you think you have a pretty good race car going into Sunday. We were the eighth pair to run so we had plenty of information to go out there and run a mid-4.50 and be strong. After seeing our teammate Tony Schumacher run a 4.51 (to win first round over Allen Bradshaw), we thought it was possible.

"It went out there about 100 feet and shook pretty hard and I didn't have a choice but to pedal it. It was one of those split-second decisions and the whole time coming back to the pits after losing you're thinking as a driver, Did I need to pedal it, could it have made it? But the crew said no, it wouldn't have made it. As a driver I made the right decision to pedal it.

"These first-round loses are killing us in points," continued McClenathan, who has four first-round losses this season. "The standings are really important right now and we find ourselves slipping back and that's not a good thing for this FRAM Top Fuel dragster. We need to start grinding our way back up the point standings somehow. Maybe we need to test some more. We'll work on it, Mike Green (crew chief) and the guys will get it right, and we'll be ready for them."

McClenathan is now sixth in the Top Fuel points rankings, with 450 points.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac , Hillary Will