McCLENATHAN, TASCA POST QUICK PERFORMANCES TO LEAD MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS TESTING THURSDAY AT O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK AT INDIANAPOLIS CLERMONT, Ind. -- Cory McClenathan powered his FRAM dragster to a performance better than both ends of the ...
McCLENATHAN, TASCA POST QUICK PERFORMANCES TO LEAD MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS TESTING THURSDAY AT O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK AT INDIANAPOLIS
CLERMONT, Ind. -- Cory McClenathan powered his FRAM dragster to a performance better than both ends of the current Top Fuel track record at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis Thursday during the second day of testing for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, the world's most prestigious drag race.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series teams are utilizing the open test session to prepare for the first of six races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, which begins Sept. 1-6 at the historic multipurpose motorsports facility. The event will be showcased during 10 hours of coverage by ESPN2 HD.
McClenathan, who finished second in the regular season standings, covered the race distance in 3.790 seconds at 324.28 mph to lead all cars participating in the test. Tony Schumacher holds the current track E.T. record at 3.816 seconds and Antron Brown is the track speed record holder at 319.22 mph.
A much-improved track surface meticulously prepared by new O'Reilly Raceway Park operations director Kurt Johnson along with the NHRA Safety Safari has many of the drivers in the pits buzzing about the prospect for record-setting performances next weekend. McClenathan's unofficial record performance showed the potential.
"We ran a 3.85 in the heat and thought that was a great number and decided to go back and go with our Friday night set up," McClenathan said. "Hopefully we'll have about the same conditions next Friday night during the race. To go out there and run 3.790 at 324 is pretty stout. It shows that we have the power. We are starting to get to the point where all three DSR cars are getting closer together and I think we will be able to come out here and show what we have for them."
Larry Dixon, Top Fuel's top seed for the playoffs, posted a 3.823 at 311.34 in the Al-Anabi Racing dragster and eight-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner Tony Schumacher posted a 3.826 at 310.20 effort in the U.S. Army dragster.
In Funny Car, Bob Tasca pushed his Motorcraft Shelby Ford Mustang to the best time of the test with a 4.077 second run, which is just four-hundredths of a second off the track record time for the 7,000-horsepower category (4.073 seconds, Tony Pedregon). Tasca was hoping to post a time quicker than the current record during his final attempt but he had issues getting off the line.
"We started off great and ran a 4.077 at 309 right out of the box and then went downhill from there," Tasca said. "We have been struggling with a lifter issue the last three races and it bit us on the second run and we lost an engine when a lifter broke. We spent the rest of the afternoon changing over to a different style lifter -- one that the Force camp runs -- and came back out and went a 15, which is encouraging. That last run I just went brain dead, two stepped it, and the good news was that it was testing and not race day. But you want to get the data from any night run. Having the 07 data out of the box is very valuable, but man I tell you we kind of threw that one away. We will be OK and the good news is we ran an 07 and I think it will be low of the session and we solved our lifter problems and those are certainly things we didn't want to have to deal with next week."
Matt Hagan was second in Funny Car with a 4.094 at 300.20 in his DieHard Dodge Charger and four-time Indy winner John Force was third-quickest in his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Mustang with a 4.101-second run.
Ron Capps, who is looking for his first U.S. Nationals victory, posted a run of 4.143 at 297.55 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger and was one of the drivers who was impressed with the track conditions.
"I was just talking to (crew chiefs) Ace (Ed McCulloch) and John Medlen up there and we are firing off a letter to Tom Compton, Peter Clifford and Graham Light because Kurt Johnson and everybody here has made this track the best that we have ever seen it," Capps said. "The track condition is as good or better than the national event will be, so this is probably the first test everybody has really been able to learn something. Usually when you come here to test the track is OK, but you can't apply it to what the race will give you. I tell you if we could have every test session prepped like this you would see teams doing back flips. It is great and I think it will make for a better show at Indy."
The first Full Throttle Series qualifying session for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil begins Friday, Sept. 3 at 5:15 p.m. Qualifying sessions will continue Saturday (3 and 6 p.m.) and Sunday (11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) for Monday's eliminations, which start at 11 a.m. Tickets are available by calling (800) 884-NHRA, or online at www.NHRATIX.com.