Las Vegas: Cory McClenathan final report

CORY MAC WINS VEGAS! LAS VEGAS (April 13, 2008) - Driving the FRAM Top Fuel dragster, Cory McClenathan collected his first Top Fuel win of the season, his first TF win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his 30th career in 52 final rounds,...

CORY MAC WINS VEGAS!

LAS VEGAS (April 13, 2008) - Driving the FRAM Top Fuel dragster, Cory McClenathan collected his first Top Fuel win of the season, his first TF win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his 30th career in 52 final rounds, his first in 30 events (Richmond 2006), and his first for Don Schumacher Racing.

After qualifying No. 5 for the NHRA Nationals this weekend, McClenathan enjoyed lane choice throughout the day, first defeating J.R. Todd with a solid 4.639-second elapsed time at 324.05 mph, then Morgan Lucas with a 4.780/304.25 and finally former DSR Pro Stock Motorcycle driver Antron Brown in the final round of eliminations. McClenathan used another stout pass, a 4.654/315.86, to defeat Brown's 4.703/315.93. Brown was one of the few, if not only, drivers to get down the less-desirable right lane during eliminations. Margin of victory: 19 feet.

"To say the least, it's about time. That's all I can say," said McClenathan. "It's been a couple of years since we've even had a competitive car and to win Richmond a couple of years ago was great. That was my 29th victory, but to come here exactly 30 races later and win my 30th Top Fuel event is incredible.

"Thanks to (crew chief) Mike Green and all the guys who work on the FRAM team and DSR. Don Schumacher has put together quite an empire over there at DSR, and I'm glad to be a part of it. I'm hoping to spend the rest of my days there and retire at DSR. Maybe I can wipe some tires for them or wax some cars when I'm done.

"It was a very tricky track, but our Goodyears did the job today. We kept that left-hand lane as lane choice and we worked it. Mike Green and the guys did a great job. We had a lot of help from Alan Johnson (U.S. Army TF crew chief), all the guys on the Army crew, all the guys on the Rockstar team, all the Valvoline/MTS guys from Jack Beckman's team, and Gary Scelzi's Mopar crew. We really appreciate everything that goes on. There were 30 guys working on that race car.

"Lane choice was very important today," added McClenathan, who also had a runner-up finish this year at the season-opening event in Pomona, Calif. "It was very tricky out there. It was one of those deals where not only do you have to keep it right in the groove, you just had to do your burnout in the exact right spot. We had some early wheel speed that we had to be careful of, and Mike Green did a great job at basically attacking that area and just being a little bit careful early and then letting it spin the tires down course. We got down to the other end and only had like six or seven teeth left on the blower belt.

"So, it was going to be a very close race and it was. Antron is a great driver. He's learned very quickly. Lee Beard is a good crew chief. So, we beat some good teams today, but I would say lane choice really meant a lot.

"I would say this points battle is shaping up to be an incredible season," added McClenathan, who is No. 4 in the points, just 87 markers behind leader Tony Schumacher. "I'm looking forward to being a part of it. And it's good to have a top-five car back again and have a shot at the championship. My teammate Tony Schumacher is up there, (Larry) Dixon's up there (No. 2). [And] we just went around Brandon (Bernstein), barely.

"It's one of those deals where it is going to be dog-eat-dog all year. But I think we're up for the fight at DSR. Mike Green and I are very proud to be part of this deal. Were not looking too much farther ahead. We'll just look at one race at a time, one round at a time."

Said team owner Don Schumacher: "It's fantastic. It thrills me for Cory to come out with my team, a brand-new team, and get his first win for him, for FRAM and for the whole FRAM family. It's just a wonderful victory and that thrills me as much as anything."

Crew chief Mike Green had a huge smile on his face. "It's just great," he said. "It's great to be with Schumacher Racing and to be back with Cory driving the car I get to tune. It's hopefully one of many more victories. Maybe we can get things going and get up towards the top of the points and make a run for the championship."

To what did he attribute the team's success? "It's attributed mostly to all the brain trust that DSR has, starting with Alan Johnson," said Green. "He's just been a great help from the start with us running this dragster, and DSR crew chiefs Phil Shuler, Todd Okuhara and Tommy DeLago and all the guys have been a big help. It's a great group to work it and there's a lot of support. We just work together and everybody helps each other and we should have one of our cars in the winner's circle every race."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Cory McClenathan , Jack Beckman , Morgan Lucas , Don Schumacher , J.R. Todd