MCCLENATHAN REACHES THE QUARTERFINALS IN HOUSTON BAYTOWN, Texas (March 30, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan advanced to the quarterfinals today at the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Despite the early exit, the driver of the FRAM Top...
MCCLENATHAN REACHES THE QUARTERFINALS IN HOUSTON
BAYTOWN, Texas (March 30, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan advanced to the quarterfinals today at the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Despite the early exit, the driver of the FRAM Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing believes the FRAM team is getting stronger with every run he and the team make.
McClenathan began eliminations by defeating Rod Fuller with a 4.614-second elapsed time at 281.83 mph to Fuller's tire-smoking 11.374/75.39. He then squared off against Top Fuel rookie Antron Brown in the quarterfinals in one of the closest Top Fuel races of the day. Brown took the victory with a 4.541/326.56 pass to McClenathan's 4.566/305.22 and a margin of victory of .0600 of a second.
"The track is still very tricky," said McClenathan, who qualified fourth. "We took advantage of that in the first round and chose the right lane. There's a little bump out there that gets the tires spinning and at about 800 ft. it threw the blower belt off. We turned right around in the second round with the idea of trying to calm it down, but it did the same thing. It made it farther down the track and we made a better run, but Antron stepped up and ran a good number. A 4.54 to a 4.56 is just a good old drag race and had it been any other car we would have been right there with them and maybe won the round.
"We're learning as we go along," added McClenathan, who has won twice in four career final-round appearances at HRP. "Mike Green (crew chief) is making more power and we're making better runs each and every time we go down the track. Thank God we got to make four qualifying runs this weekend. It gave us a lot more data going into today.
"Everybody steps up with their A game when they race us because they know they have to make it from A to B. We actually came here and ran as well as we did in Pomona (where he was runner-up), but we couldn't throw as much power at the race track. Mike's learning a lot in the clutch area and he and (assistant crew chief) Neal Strausbaugh are doing a great job.
"We are working for every point we get and we haven't had any gimmes this year," said McClenathan, who is fifth in the Top Fuel point standings. "A little bit of luck would be nice, but maybe we're saving it up for another time. It just tells you that NHRA POWERade Drag Racing gets tougher and tougher as we go along. We'll go to Vegas and maybe we can win there."