MCCLENATHAN ADVANCES TO SEMIS IN BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 20, 2010) - On a track surface reaching 138 degrees under ambient temperatures in the 90s, Cory McClenathan raced the FRAM Top Fuel dragster to his third semifinal finish of the 2010...
MCCLENATHAN ADVANCES TO SEMIS IN BRISTOL
BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 20, 2010) - On a track surface reaching 138 degrees under ambient temperatures in the 90s, Cory McClenathan raced the FRAM Top Fuel dragster to his third semifinal finish of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
En route to the semis, he dismissed Scott Palmer in the opening stanza with a round-best 3.918-second pass at 311.34 mph, while track temperatures were still in the 120-degree range. As track temperatures rose for the quarterfinal, McClenathan's match-up over Steve Torrence turned into a pedalfest as both cars lost traction. Cory Mac won that contest, posting a 4.243/252.19.
Without lane choice for the semifinal and facing his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher, McClenathan was looking to clinch a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs if he won that round. One and two in points, Larry Dixon and Schumacher, had already clinched their spots. Despite the heat, the pair put on a stellar show for the fans, as Schumacher edged out his teammate by three hundredths of a second at the finish line, taking the win with a 3.971/302.62 to McClenathan's 3.992/291.89.
"It would have been a little bit nicer to have had lane choice," said McClenathan, who leaves Bristol still in third place in the class rankings, "but the FRAM guys did a great job by getting us down the left-hand lane, which is more than a lot of folks were doing.
"You have to win from whatever lane you get, and unfortunately we couldn't do it. We would like to beat Tony. Points-wise, we were only one round away from him at that point, and we could have left here in second place if we had won that round.
"Even though it doesn't matter because the Countdown is going to change everything, we still want to gain some ground on (leader) Larry Dixon at the same time." Dixon was ousted in the opening round. The Countdown to 1 playoffs begin after the next five races for the top 10 in points in the final six races of the year. Dixon, Schumacher and McClenathan are the only drivers to have scored victories in the first 12 races of the season.
"The fortunate thing for the DSR team is that Tony went to the final and won the event today," added McClenathan. "The unfortunate thing is we should have been in the final, and we would have clinched a spot in the Countdown.
"For me, it's also about Father's Day and I wanted to win the Father's Day race. Everybody keeps talking about how Larry Dixon has won so many Father's Day races, I figured it was my turn. So, I'm kind of bummed about that. But, I had my daughter Courtney here with me and we had a great time and the Bristol fans have been great."
Next up is the fourth annual NHRA Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, June 25-27.