Richmond: Cory McClenathan final report

MCCLENATHAN DROPS IMPORTANT FIRST ROUND IN VIRGINIA DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 12, 2008) -- FRAM Top Fuel dragster driver Cory McClenathan lost a crucial first round race in eliminations today at the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia ...

MCCLENATHAN DROPS IMPORTANT FIRST ROUND IN VIRGINIA

DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 12, 2008) -- FRAM Top Fuel dragster driver Cory McClenathan lost a crucial first round race in eliminations today at the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. The loss put the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship out of reach for the 17-year Top Fuel veteran, who dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 in the Countdown to 1 points chase. His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher won Don Schumacher Racing's 121st national event today. He did not clinch the title, but holds a 212-point edge over Hillary Will in second place.

No. 4 qualifier McClenathan was matched up against No. 13 Morgan Lucas in the opening round. McClenathan left the starting line first with a .068 to .095 reaction time (.000 is perfect), but tire shake forced him to pedal the throttle early in the run, slowing him to a 3.970-second elapsed time at 307.37 mph. Lucas drove past him to take the win with a 3.881/309.77.

"It was do or die today as far as trying to catch Tony Schumacher," said McClenathan, who began the day 169 points behind Schumacher and is now 249 back. "You might as well crown the champion; that's the way we all feel.

"We had a very consistent race car all weekend and then for some reason it went out there and shook the tires hard and I had to pedal it. I didn't think it was going to make it and it was just a judgment call I had to make. It's just one of those unfortunate things and it killed us in the points.

"We weren't counting Tony out by any means, but if he would have made a mistake it was mathematically still possible for us to catch him. Now we're going to be racing for second or third place. The FRAM guys have done a great job this year. This team has been together one year and we're still this good in points. That's a good team."

The next race for McClenathan and the FRAM Top Fuel team will be the Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Oct. 30-Nov. 2.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Morgan Lucas , Don Schumacher , Hillary Will