St. Louis: Cory McClenathan Saturday report

McCLENATHAN SNAGS NO. 1 IN ST. LOUIS QUALIFYING MADISON, Ill. (May 1, 2010) - Cory McClenathan snagged his third No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 36th of his career today at the 14th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway ...

McCLENATHAN SNAGS NO. 1 IN ST. LOUIS QUALIFYING

MADISON, Ill. (May 1, 2010) - Cory McClenathan snagged his third No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 36th of his career today at the 14th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, located just outside of St. Louis.

Driving the FRAM Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, McClenathan recorded his quickest pass of 3.815 seconds at 305.63 mph in today's second of only three qualifying rounds held because of rain on Friday. In Friday's only pass he posted a tire-smoking 5.475/121.27 (No. 8), and in his final try today he struck the tires again to post a 8.913/68.08.

"Our No. 1 qualifying run was on a string," he said. "Everything went right, the track was in good condition, everything was kind of going along and we still shut off at 900 feet, smoked the tires, put a couple cylinders out. For the sake of parts we shut off early. I was surprised we ran that quick.

"As the day changed, the conditions changed along with it. When the sun comes out here it tends to make it a little bit more tricky. We made some changes, we didn't see a lot of people throwing down any really low ETs in the left-hand lane, but we still wanted to try to be aggressive. So, we did that and obviously we had to abort that run and shut it off early," he said of his final pass. "But, we learn from every single run.

"The hardest thing is going into tomorrow and we've only had a few runs. It depends on the weather. If it's cool and cloudy, I would expect us to go out and run an .81 again. If not, we kind of need to live in the mid- to high-.80's range."

McClenathan will face his DSR teammate Antron Brown in the opening round of Sunday's eliminations. "It's tough when you fall on the same side of the ladder, for one thing," he said. "When you fall where you have to run each other first round, that's a whole different deal. We gather information through the weekend with all three cars (Tony Schumacher, McClenathan and Brown), and we share information. We know they're going to have a good car going in tomorrow; they'll be fine. It'll be a good drag race either way, but we race heads up. That's how we do it.

"It's kind of tough because we're all trying to chase the points, we're all trying to do the best we can for Don (Schumacher) and all the sponsors, but someone's got to win the race. So if we can get past Antron then that's 20 more points for our goal."

With the bonus points earned by both points leader Larry Dixon and McClenathan, Dixon enters Sunday's eliminations still one point ahead of "Cory Mac."

"That's the hardest thing," said McClenathan. "You know you're really close within a few points here and there and we keep kind of throwing it back to each other. The biggest thing is not to look over your shoulder. Look ahead, look at your own car, try to race your own car. We've taken that mentality here: go out every single weekend, let's get it qualified, let's not look ahead too much, and take one round at a time. And it's worked so far for us, so we're going to keep trying to do that."

-source: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac , Don Schumacher