MCCLENATHAN ADVANCES TO HIS FIFTH SEMIFINAL OF YEAR IN SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 18, 2010) - Racing the FRAM Top Fuel dragster at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals, Cory McClenathan advanced to his fifth Top Fuel semifinal round of the 2010...
MCCLENATHAN ADVANCES TO HIS FIFTH SEMIFINAL OF YEAR IN SONOMA
SONOMA, Calif. (July 18, 2010) - Racing the FRAM Top Fuel dragster at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals, Cory McClenathan advanced to his fifth Top Fuel semifinal round of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, losing a tough face-off with points leader Larry Dixon. With that, his hopes of becoming the first driver to sweep the Western Swing (Seattle, Sonoma and Denver) twice were dashed.
McClenathan was running strong until then, carving through the field and first dismissing Bob Vandergriff with a 3.913-second elapsed time at 310.20 mph, then Doug Kalitta with a 3.977/288.15.
He met up with Dixon without lane choice, then nailed the lights with a .086 reaction time to Dixon's .103 (.000 is perfect). But his day ended when an engine malfunction caused the 'chutes to deploy and he slowed to a 5.191/117.88 while Dixon cruised to victory with a 3.845/319.52.
"The performance on the FRAM car was good this weekend," said 2010 Seattle winner McClenathan, who slipped back to third in the point standings. "We went some rounds, we took out Doug (Kalitta) in the second round. That was a good thing, but I wanted Dixon. I wanted three things here: to have a chance at the Swing, to win at our sponsor's race, and to beat Dixon. And I couldn't do that.
"Dixon and his team have a strong car. They just completely threw one down on us when they ran that .84 in the semis. They weren't taking us lightly, by any means.
"I don’t think lane choice made as much of a difference as one may think. We went down that left-hand lane that second round OK; we were fine with it.
"You know what, when it's your sponsor's race, you want to go to the final. I wanted that one for the sponsors. And it's a shame. And we don’t have a shot at the Swing now. We're just going to have to pick it up, get ourselves together and gear it up for Denver, because Denver is going to be a whole different program."
Next up is the final race of the Western Swing, the 31st annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., July 23-25.