MCCLENATHAN IS BUMPED OUT BY DIXON IN CONCORD SEMIS CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2010) - No. 1 qualifier Cory McClenathan was on target to win his third straight NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at zMAX Dragway today at the third annual...
MCCLENATHAN IS BUMPED OUT BY DIXON IN CONCORD SEMIS
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2010) - No. 1 qualifier Cory McClenathan was on target to win his third straight NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at zMAX Dragway today at the third annual NHRA Carolina Nationals, but his season-long nemesis Larry Dixon stopped him in his tracks in the semifinal round.
En route to his sixth semifinal round of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle season, McClenathan defeated Morgan Lucas with a 3.872-second pass at 318.09 mph, then Rod Fuller with a 3.941/309.63 lap. In the semifinal he aced Dixon at the starting lights, with a .048 (of a second) reaction time to Dixon's .106. The driver of the Valvoline/FRAM Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing was ahead at 500 feet of the 1000-foot track, then struck the tires. Dixon lost traction a tick later, but recovered first to take his fifth victory over McClenathan this season (three times in the final round).
"Cory Mac" held on to second place in the point standings, and is now 85 markers behind Dixon, won won the event today.
"We were ahead until I smoked the tires and then just didn't recover," said McClenathan. "I don't know what it is, but we just can't seem to get the odds in our favor when it comes to Dixon. They just find a way to get around us somehow.
"I was running my own race so I didn't see him smoke the tires. He has to be pretty far ahead of me before I would see him, and once I pedaled it and saw him jump out there a little bit that's where I stayed the rest of the time.
"These missed opportunities just make it hard," added McClenathan, who has been a championship runner-up four times, but never a champion in his 20 years of competition. "The good thing is we only have to wait a couple of days to get back in the car.
"Dixon is going to get more of a lead. We have to find a way to stop him early. That's the only way we're going to stop this guy."
Up next is the 25th annual NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, Sept. 24-26.