MCCLENATHAN IS U.S NATIONALS SEMIFINALIST CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept,1 2008) -- Cory McClenathan advanced to the semifinals today at the 54th annual U.S. Nationals, driving the FRAM Top Fuel Dragster. It was his fifth semifinal appearance of ...
MCCLENATHAN IS U.S NATIONALS SEMIFINALIST
CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept,1 2008) -- Cory McClenathan advanced to the semifinals today at the 54th annual U.S. Nationals, driving the FRAM Top Fuel Dragster. It was his fifth semifinal appearance of the "regular" 18-event 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season and he enters the Countdown to 1 playoffs beginning in Concord, N.C., in two weeks No. 4 in the standings.
It was a bizarre start to the day for McClenathan, whose first-round opponent Pat Dakin left the starting line before the timing system was activated and McClenathan had to watch Dakin go down the track while he waited for the green light. The FRAM dragster roared to a 3.871-second elapsed time at 306.95 mph for the victory, while Dakin was not credited with a time.
"We had a weird first-round deal," said McClenathan. "As I was staging, Pat Dakin took off. When that happens the starting line tree isn't activated so you create a situation where you can have a double foul which eliminates both of us. So I waited until the light came down and with that anticipation and waiting it was really tough. It was very strange."
The quarterfinal race was a tire-smoking battle against Doug Herbert, with McClenathan recovering first and taking the win with a 4.521/244.38 pass to a 5.041/270.37. He then faced red-hot Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the semifinals, but fouled out at the start, which disqualified his 5.172/244.28 lap, while Schumacher triumphed with a 3.947/305.42.
"The FRAM dragster lost traction out there in the second round and I had to pedal it," said McClenathan. "Something happened on the burnout in the semifinals which triggered the magnetos, and I could tell by the numbers on the dash that something was wrong. When I got it backed up to the starting line I pointed to (crew chief) Mike Green and he realized that there was a problem and he fixed it. But by then all I was thinking was that it's not going to be right and it's not going to run as good and I took a shot at the tree. That's all there was to it. I flat figured that was my only chance to beat Tony.
"We've let everybody know that the FRAM Top Fuel dragster is a car to be reckoned with going into the Countdown to 1."