Commerce: Cory McClenathan final report

McCLENATHAN ENDS A RAINY SUNDAY IN ATLANTA IN THE SEMIFINALS COMMERCE, Ga. (April 19, 2009) - With two final rounds and two quarterfinal finishes (and one first-round) under his belt so far in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Cory...

McCLENATHAN ENDS A RAINY SUNDAY IN ATLANTA IN THE SEMIFINALS

COMMERCE, Ga. (April 19, 2009) - With two final rounds and two quarterfinal finishes (and one first-round) under his belt so far in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Cory McClenathan reached the semifinal round for the first time this season at the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. With that result, he moved into fourth in the Top Fuel point standings.

Behind the wheel of the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster and on a Sunday filled with intermittent rain delays, McClenathan sent home Larry Dixon in the opening round with a dramatic holeshot win. His 3.865-second pass at 313.44 mph edged out Dixon's quicker 3.846/315.27 by a mere two inches or .0003 of a second.

In the second round he easily disposed of Bobby Lagana Jr. with another stellar pass of 3.864/317.12, setting top speed of the weekend (so far).

The semifinal round against Morgan Lucas gave the fans a second close race to watch in McClenathan's path through the field, when the pair took off with nearly identical reaction times then ran nose-to-nose to the finish stripe. But it was Lucas nipping McClenathan at the line by .0029 of a second or 16 inches to take the win with a 3.875/309.70 to McClenathan’s losing 3.880/314.97.

"(Co-crew chiefs) Phil (Shuler) and Todd (Okuhara) said we actually wanted to go quicker than that, so I think they're a little surprised that it only ran an .88,” he said.   "We ran the two 3.86s and we were trying to repeat that and do even a little bit better, so we're a little surprised. We'll have to go back and look at the data.

"You know what, for not making it on Friday and then qualifying in the 10th position, we still had a pretty good weekend with this FRAM Tough Guard dragster. So, I’m really happy. I think the FRAM Tough Guard guys are doing a great job.

"We may not be winning races right now, but we're right in the hunt and we keep gaining points on these other guys, so I'll take that for now.

"Everything was very smooth this weekend," he added. "We had very little damage. We replaced one engine all weekend long. You kind of get your back against the wall when you can't qualify that first or second time on Friday, and I think that's kind of where we may have left some on the table."

Next up is the 13th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis, Mo., May 1-3.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bobby Lagana Jr. , Cory McClenathan , Morgan Lucas