St. Louis: Cory McClenathan Saturday notes

MCCLENATHAN IS NO. 9 IN MIDWEST NATIONALS QUALIFYING MADISON, Ill. (May 3, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan qualified the FRAM Top Fuel dragster No. 9 on Saturday at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, just east of downtown St.

MCCLENATHAN IS NO. 9 IN MIDWEST NATIONALS QUALIFYING

MADISON, Ill. (May 3, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan qualified the FRAM Top Fuel dragster No. 9 on Saturday at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, just east of downtown St. Louis. He made three runs in the 4.50-second range and goes into Sunday's eliminations looking to make up some ground in the POWERade Drag Racing Series points battle.

McClenathan, fourth in the rankings, got off to a quick start on Friday, running a 4.583-second elapsed time at 321.42 mph on his first qualifying attempt to leap into the No. 2 spot. In the second session he piloted the FRAM dragster to a 4.542/329.18, top speed of the event to that point, and ended the day in No. 5. Antron Brown was eventually credited with the top speed (331.94 mph).

The weather for Saturday's final pair of qualifying sessions was cold and windy with temperatures in the 50-degree range under overcast skies. McClenathan first recorded a 4.543/320.13 to claim the No. 7 spot. On his final attempt he clicked it off early and rolled to a 6.389/130.27 to finish qualifying in No. 9.

"We started out great on Friday with a 4.58 that put us No. 2," said McClenathan, who was runner-up in St. Louis in 2007. "Then last night we ran a 4.54 and that put us No. 5. So we kind of went a little bit backwards, but you're going to see that because there are a lot of great cars out here.

"Today we ran another 4.54, but we had some engine damage. Then on the last run we were really going for it. But the car felt like it struggled off the starting line and once I got about 80 feet I shut it off because I figured that it was better to come back on race day and make sure it's right and not beat up any more parts. I think (crew chief) Mike Green would agree that's the way to do it. He certainly saw what I felt.

"We slipped back to the ninth, and we have to take on Rod Fuller first thing in the morning," McClenathan added. "I think the FRAM dragster is up to the task. That'll definitely start off your day with a bang. Being the first pair out during eliminations doesn't bother me. Sometimes it's better to get it out of the way and if you get by first round it's up to everybody else to keep up with you.

"We've had some good luck here. Last year we made it to the final round. So we'll just have to navigate and take one round at a time because each 20 points is very precious right now."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Cory McClenathan , Rod Fuller