MCCLENATHAN WILL START NO. 1 ON SUNDAY IN CONCORD CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2010) - Cory McClenathan held on to the No. 1 spot through two more qualifying sessions at the third annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals and will face No. 16 qualifier Morgan...
MCCLENATHAN WILL START NO. 1 ON SUNDAY IN CONCORD
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2010) - Cory McClenathan held on to the No. 1 spot through two more qualifying sessions at the third annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals and will face No. 16 qualifier Morgan Lucas in the opening round of Sunday's Top Fuel class eliminations.
Racing the Valvoline/FRAM Top Fuel dragster, McClenathan's 3.831-second elapsed time at a track-record-setting speed of 321.12 mph that he set on Friday night held up as the teams faced hotter conditions today. In the third qualifying round, McClenathan set the third quickest of that session, a 3.879/314.39 and, in his final attempt, a 3.946/302.07.
He earned his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, and the 38th of his career.
"Just basically a race-day tune-up," he said when asked what he was able to learn from today's passes. "It was much warmer, the humidity is still here, and it looks like it will be warmer tomorrow, so we just need to be careful. We can make it from A to B, but can't go the big ETs and speed that we saw last night.
"Last night were perfect conditions for us to go out there and lay one down, so we took advantage of it, and gained a few points along the line (a total of four qualifying bonus points). That's good for us, and to be able to bring the Valvoline/FRAM car back out and do this well with a whole different paint scheme, I think it says a lot about the team. The guys are doing a great job.
"The big orange FRAM car is will be back next week, but we would like to try and win with this one," added McClenathan, who has won the last two NHRA national events here at zMax Dragway, and is second in playoffs points, behind leader Larry Dixon, who qualified No. 4.
"It's also a different body, and in our case a little bit heavier body than we're used to running, so we weren't too sure about it, but when you get out there and qualify and run as good as we did last night, all of a sudden everyone's all smiles.
"You know what? It's all about luck. You need to have a little bit of that on your side when you're in a Countdown like this, and when you change up like that, when you turn the whole sponsor around like that, it definitely makes you think about it. But once we got qualified, we were really comfortable.
"Today was all about getting a race day tune-up and making it through some rounds. Our side of the ladder looks pretty tough for tomorrow, so we're going to have to fight for it, but we've had to depend on others to take out some of the frontrunners, and we'll get a chance to do it ourselves tomorrow instead."