MCCLENATHAN GOES FOR BROKE, QUALIFIES NO. 7, HELPS TEAMMATE TAKE NO. 1 POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2009) - Cory McClenathan went for broke in the final qualifying session for the 45th annual NHRA Finals today, but ended up smoking the tires and not...
MCCLENATHAN GOES FOR BROKE, QUALIFIES NO. 7, HELPS TEAMMATE TAKE NO. 1
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2009) - Cory McClenathan went for broke in the final qualifying session for the 45th annual NHRA Finals today, but ended up smoking the tires and not claiming the No. 1 spot. However, the information passed back to his teammate Tony Schumacher behind him in the staging lanes was invaluable.
While McClenathan, driving the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster, settled for seventh place by virtue of the 3.838-second lap at 316.38 mph he established out of the box in the first session on Thursday, Schumacher shot to the No. 1 spot, regaining the lead he had lost earlier this weekend over Larry Dixon by two points before Sunday's eliminations.
McClenathan's other laps this week were a 5.226/128.37 (No. 6), a 3.859/315.49 (No. 6) and finally the tire-smoking 9.257/77.01 in the final round.
"I think everybody was going for it tonight," said McClenathan of the track conditions cooling rapidly in the last session due to long oildown cleanups. "It cooled off so much you could only back it off so much. We decided to go ahead and leave everything in it and try to go for it, but it didn't work for us. Obviously, the information we were able to send back to our teammate worked out really well for him. (Tony posted a track record 3.772-second pass.)
"At the same time we still have to go three rounds tomorrow to be able to beat these guys," added McClenathan, third in the point standings, just 61 markers short of first place. "And that's if both Tony and Larry go out early. So, it is what it is.
"I guess the good thing is we put ourselves on the same side of the ladder as Larry now instead of Tony. That's a blessing for us. So, if anything, we can go out and hopefully beat Dixon for Tony so he could win it.
"Maybe Tony and I will just meet in the final and be one and two for the season. I'll still be happy with that."
McClenathan will meet up with Bob Vandergriff Jr. in the opening round of Sunday's eliminations and can face off with Dixon in the second round if both make it through the opener.