Charlotte: Cory McClenathan Saturday notes

McCLENATHAN WILL START NO. 9 IN SUNDAY'S ELIMINATIONS IN CONCORD CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2009) - Cory McClenathan will start No. 9 in Sunday's Top Fuel eliminations at the NHRA Carolina Nationals, by virtue of his 3.877-second pass at 310.84...

McCLENATHAN WILL START NO. 9 IN SUNDAY'S ELIMINATIONS IN CONCORD

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2009) - Cory McClenathan will start No. 9 in Sunday's Top Fuel eliminations at the NHRA Carolina Nationals, by virtue of his 3.877-second pass at 310.84 mph, set in today's third qualifying round.

His other laps in the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster produced a 3.910/310.54 (No. 6), a tire-smoking 10.355/68.93 (No. 12), and a 3.897/309.49 in the last session.

He did not earn any of the qualifying bonus points introduced by NHRA for the Countdown to 1 playoffs, which began this weekend.

"We were trying to go for it just then, and we pushed it and it's unhappy," he said of his final attempt. "We don't know why the engine is unhappy. We have to go back and regroup and figure it out for tomorrow. Our teammate (Tony Schumacher, No. 3 with a 3.848/316.75) is running good numbers and we're not anywhere near them.

"We need to figure out what's going on. I have all the confidence in the world in (crew chiefs) Phil (Shuler) and Todd (Okuhara), and I'm not concerned about it. But somewhere between second round in Indy (U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend) - where we had the fire - and here, it went a little bit off. I know my FRAM guys will bring it back around.

"We have Morgan Lucas the first round on Sunday and we're the first pair out, it looks like, so it will be interesting, to say the least," added McClenathan, who is fifth in Countdown points.

"I was the first one to say I hate to see a change in the points program in the middle of a season," he said of the new points system instituted by NHRA in which the top three qualifiers in each qualifying round earn three, two and one points, respectively, "but we usually qualify close to the top. We're often second or third and, now and then, first. We missed those points here and other people are getting them. We're going to have to figure something out.

"The NHRA made a change without really notifying anyone or talking about it in advance and I think that's just not the right thing to do. I think making a points change is something that should be done at the beginning of a season, not in the middle of it."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Morgan Lucas