Commerce: Cory McClenathan final report

MCCLENATHAN REACHES QUARTERFINALS IN ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. (April 27, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan followed his win in Las Vegas two weeks ago with a quarterfinal finish in Sunday's eliminations at the NHRA Southern Nationals. The driver of the...

MCCLENATHAN REACHES QUARTERFINALS IN ATLANTA

COMMERCE, Ga. (April 27, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan followed his win in Las Vegas two weeks ago with a quarterfinal finish in Sunday's eliminations at the NHRA Southern Nationals. The driver of the FRAM Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing made six solid runs down the Atlanta Dragway quarter-mile during the weekend but was defeated in the second round by Antron Brown.

Eliminations were delayed by two hours due to rain, but the wait was worth it for the FRAM team. McClenathan, who qualified No. 1, began the day with a first-round victory over Todd Paton, recording his quickest run of the weekend with an elapsed time of 4.556 seconds at 318.09 mph to Paton's 5.520/180.77.

"After the first round I felt like we had the car to beat," said McClenathan, who then had to wait a short time for the second round to begin when it rained again. "Right before it rained we ran a 4.55 and everyone else was running a 4.58 and a 4.59. Then Rod Fuller ran a 4.54 and my DSR teammate Tony Schumacher ran a 4.55, so I think team-wise we had two good cars."

McClenathan, whose Fram team earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Challenge award on Saturday for consistency in qualifying, faced Antron Brown in the quarterfinals in a repeat of the their final-round match-up two weeks earlier in Las Vegas. In an extremely close race, McClenathan led at every increment down the quarter-mile until the finish line, where Brown nipped him for a holeshot win with a 4.591/325.61 to McClenathan's 4.562/320.89. Margin of victory: 20 inches.

"In the second round I thought I was on my game with a .055 reaction time, but Antron was just that much better with a .023 light," McClenathan said. "Lee Beard (Brown's crew chief) and the gang deserve it over there. They just out-performed me. He out-drove me. The FRAM car ran well. It's just one of those things. I hate it for the guys more than anything else. They're doing a great job with this race car and to get beat on a holeshot just dings the driver. It's hard. You look at the numbers and it was pretty much a dead-heat race.

"A .055 light is not a bad light; it'll beat anyone else out there. But when you get beat on a holeshot it just shows you that you just didn't do your job good enough. I'm going to have to figure out how to do better and that's all there is to it. If we want to win the championship we're going to have to dig down deep. The FRAM guys have done a great job and I just feel like I let them down a little bit.

"We'll suck it up and we'll go to St. Louis next week and find out how to get it back."

McClenathan holds onto fourth place in the Top Fuel point standings.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher , Todd Paton , Cory McClenathan , Don Schumacher , Rod Fuller