Sonoma: Cory McClenathan final report

McCLENATHAN IS RUNNER-UP AT FRAM-AUTOLITE NATIONALS SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - Driving the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster at his sponsor's event, the FRAM-Autolite Nationals, Cory McClenathan reached his third final round of the 2009...

McCLENATHAN IS RUNNER-UP AT FRAM-AUTOLITE NATIONALS

SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - Driving the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster at his sponsor's event, the FRAM-Autolite Nationals, Cory McClenathan reached his third final round of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, his third at Infineon Raceway and the 56th of his career.

On his winning path to the finals (the 251st final round for Don Schumacher Racing teams since 1998), McClenathan first defeated Terry Haddock in the opening round of eliminations with a 3.831-second pass at 314.68 mph, then dismissed Clay Millican with a 4.323/233.96 in a pedalfest between the two, which "Cory Mac" won.

His semifinal round match-up against Mike Strasburg was without lane choice, but McClenathan was back to form, as he claimed the victory with a 3.972/298.07 pass, launching him into the final round against points leader Antron Brown.

It was a close race to the end, but it was Brown first across the finish stripe with a 3.990/299.06 pass to McClenathan's 4.002/290.82. Margin of victory: 14 feet.

McClenathan held on to fifth place in the point standings.

"These FRAM Tough Guard guys did a great job," said McClenathan. "It's just one of those things where you have to wait for it to come to you. It's finally now coming to us where we're starting to see that the car is responding to what they're doing, and the driver's starting to do his job a little bit better.

"You can only hope to do this at your own sponsor's race, but you want to win it, too.

"I tell you, Antron and those guys did a great job. He swept the Western Swing, so he's done something only seven other drivers have done ever, and that's a big deal.

"Everything was good until the end," he added. "It dropped a cylinder out there, they're telling me. And that probably cost us some room. It ran about 11 mph short of what it normally does run, at least nine that I know of. They kept it on all 8s (cylinders) all the way down.

"I am so proud of (crew chiefs) Todd (Okuhara) and Phil (Shuler) and the FRAM Tough Guard guys. I really am. It's almost like winning because now we're finally starting to put it together and the timing is right for us."

Next up is the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 14-16.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Clay Millican , Antron Brown , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac , Mike Strasburg