CORY MAC CLINCHES SPOT IN COUNTDOWN WITH NO. 6 IN NORWALK QUALIFYING NORWALK, Ohio (June 26, 2010) - Cory McClenathan clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs after running the first qualifying session on Friday at the fourth annual NHRA...
CORY MAC CLINCHES SPOT IN COUNTDOWN WITH NO. 6 IN NORWALK QUALIFYING
NORWALK, Ohio (June 26, 2010) - Cory McClenathan clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs after running the first qualifying session on Friday at the fourth annual NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. Following four rounds of qualifying, he ended up No. 6 and will face Doug Kalitta in the opening round of eliminations, the seventh time the pair will have faced each other this season.
McClenathan, driving the FRAM Top Fuel dragster, posted his quickest lap of 3.887 seconds at 313.73 mph in today's third qualifying round. His Friday's passes were a 3.889/308.57 (No. 2) and a tire-smoking 5.952/105.16 (No. 6) during the cooler night session under the lights. Today's final try produced an 8.549/80.51.
"Obviously having a spot in the Countdown already is a good thing," said McClenathan, who joins Larry Dixon and Tony Schumacher as the only Top Fuel drivers who have clinched their places in the playoffs so far. "We're still in that position where the more rounds we go the better the points are and the closer we get to Larry and obviously Tony (first and second in points, respectively), but to clinch a spot in the Countdown already at this part of the season, I'd say that's pretty good." The playoffs will be contested in the final six events of the season among the top 10 in points. After the Norwalk event, there will be four races before the Countdown kicks in.
"This FRAM car's been running great numbers all year long," added McClenathan, who is third in points. "(Crew chiefs) Phil (Shuler) and Todd (Okuhara) and the FRAM boys have been doing a great job so I'm really proud of them. I think that's a good testament to a second-year team doing as well as we have. But, at the same time, we still want to win some more races before the Countdown starts."
As for qualifying No. 6 this weekend, "We've seen some different conditions. We had our normal Friday afternoon type of run and ran pretty well and we went for it last night," said McClenathan. "To have one of these cars have an .815 60-foot (increment) is pretty much unheard of, so I'd say the car, if it would've made it, would've been great. But you can 'if' and 'when' and 'coulda' all day long, but it needed to go all the way down the track.
"I think the FRAM boys were a little aggressive last night, but that's why we're here. We're trying to test the boundaries and see what these cars will really do. We're pushing the limits, I can tell you that much.
"We're racing Doug Kalitta first round on Sunday. That's good because Doug's right there in the points (fourth) and we need to put some padding on the guys who are close to us. So, to start off with a tough guy tomorrow, that's good. They have a good team. If we start off well, win the first round and go on to win the race, we'll feel like we earned it."