MCCLENATHAN ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS IN TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (May 31, 2009) - Cory McClenathan landed the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel Dragster in the quarterfinals of the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka today, after defeating Morgan...
MCCLENATHAN ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS IN TOPEKA
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 31, 2009) - Cory McClenathan landed the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel Dragster in the quarterfinals of the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka today, after defeating Morgan Lucas in the opening round with a 3.977-second pass at 299.53 mph on a track that was heating up steadily in the hot sun.
With lane choice in the second round, McClenathan met up against eventual race winner Larry Dixon, following a swap of lanes before their match-up. They took off cleanly, but the FRAM car soon lost traction, relegating the victory to Dixon, who crossed the finish stripe in 3.983 seconds at 302.89 mph to McClenathan's losing 4.146/234.82.
"The crew chiefs go up there and look at each lane and each lane is better in certain areas," explained McClenathan, who fell to fifth place in the point standings, as Dixon moved into fourth. "Well, the FRAM guys thought for the most part we were better off in the left-hand lane, and, yeah, we had a lot of wins in the left-hand lane. Even though we ran our 3.97 earlier in the right, it's one of those things where you have to do what you think is best, and the crew chiefs make that decision.
"It was just one of those deals. It got out there and started spinning the tire real hard. I tried to pedal it once, it didn't like it and knocked the burst panels out of it. When it does that, it starts that fuel system shutdown ('safety box'), throws the 'chute out for you and shuts the fuel system off.
"That's the first time we've had that happen to us this year. It's a Catch-22. If you don't see the guy out there next to you, do you need to pedal it? If you shut off and the guy goes by you and wins, everybody's asking you, 'Why didn't you pedal it?'
"So, as a driver you have to do what you think is right. And that's the first time that system has come into play that I wish it wasn't there. But, for safety's sake, I guess it's the best thing to have.
"I hate losing second round, obviously, but we didn't really have any big changes in points. We'll go to Chicago and I think we'll do pretty well there."
Next up is the NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., June 5-7.