McCLENATHAN WINS BACK-TO-BACK IN CONCORD RACING FOUR-WIDE CONCORD, N.C. (March 29, 2010) - Cory McClenathan scored back-to-back victories at zMax Dragway today at the rain-delayed Inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals after defeating Doug Kalitta...
McCLENATHAN WINS BACK-TO-BACK IN CONCORD RACING FOUR-WIDE
CONCORD, N.C. (March 29, 2010) - Cory McClenathan scored back-to-back victories at zMax Dragway today at the rain-delayed Inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals after defeating Doug Kalitta (runner-up), his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Antron Brown (third) and Doug Herbert (fourth).
Don Schumacher Racing teams have now won four of the six professional nitro-class categories at zMax Dragway: Jack Beckman in Funny Car and Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel in 2008; and McClenathan in Top Fuel in 2009 and 2010.
The FRAM Top Fuel dragster once again demonstrated its consistency by posting a 3.820-second lap at 319.60 mph to collect McClenathan's 33rd win in 60 final rounds. McClenathan regained the points lead after his semifinal victory over Rhonda-Hartman Smith and Tony Schumacher. He and Kalitta advanced to the final round. "Cory Mac" is now 52 markers ahead of Schumacher.
"(Crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara, Phil Shuler and the FRAM boys are just so good this year," said McClenathan, who claimed his second victory of the year in as many final rounds. "They give me what it takes to go out there and win drag races. And to come here four-wide and have a mishap like we did first round out there and come back showed the teamwork at Don Schumacher Racing."
In Sunday's opening round of eliminations McClenathan led the other three drivers to the finish line, posting a 3.799/319.14, but a tire blew as he pulled the parachutes. "The biggest thing is we had made a really good run, everything was great, threw the 'chute out and, all of a sudden, it was, snap, there it goes.
"We've been having troubles down there at the other end. I don't think it's any one person's fault, it just happened that we lost a tire. Goodyear is a great product. They're what we run and what we'll always run and they'll take it back and take a look at it and they'll tell us what they think.
"My FRAM guys did a great job getting things back together between rounds, but it takes a whole team. It's a handful down there, I just wanted to keep it in my lane.
"Everybody on the team, including the Army guys and the Yas Marina guys made sure we got the car back together," added McClenathan of how the team rebuilt the chassis with the help of DSR chassis builder Norm Boutot, and replaced the front wing, body panels, etc. "We put everybody to work and that's what it took to get that car back together, but just to be able to come out here with a car like that and know that you have something to win with as a driver makes you confident. But it also puts that fire in me like you've got to get the job done as a driver, and we just had a great weekend all the way around."
As for racing four-wide in the future, "Everybody likes an All-Star race, I don't think that's something that's out of the question," said McClenathan, "but we came here with the opinion that we need to be able to go four-wide, we need to be able to understand the lights, and I had a certain way that I went about it all weekend long. I kept the same plan and it worked out for us. I was happy with the whole thing.
"I've been doing this for 20 years in a fuel car, you're not going to make everybody happy. The Smith family brought something to the table that nobody else has been able to do, and, yes, we were able to win it, so I might be a little biased on that."
Next up is the 23rd annual NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, April 9-11.