MCCLENATHAN ADVANCES TO THE SEMIFINALS IN TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan drove the FRAM Top Fuel dragster to a semifinal finish during eliminations today at the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The Wichita,...
MCCLENATHAN ADVANCES TO THE SEMIFINALS IN TOPEKA
TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan drove the FRAM Top Fuel dragster to a semifinal finish during eliminations today at the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The Wichita, Kansas, native moved up one spot to fifth in the POWERade point standings at the halfway point to the Countdown to the Championship, which begins following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend for the top 10.
Enjoying lane choice for each round as the No. 2 qualifier and after defeating Bob Vandergriff and Tony Schumacher in the first two stanzas, McClenathan squared off against Hillary Will in the semifinals. The FRAM dragster launched hard off the starting line but smoked the tires before half-track. Will took the win with a 4.809/291.51 to Cory Mac's losing 7.197/116.27.
The weather conditions were hot and humid for the third consecutive day at Heartland Park, with the sun quickly burning off the early morning cloud cover. McClenathan defeated Vandergriff with a 4.587/314.46 (low elapsed time of the first round). That triumph set up a face-off with Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army dragster in the quarterfinals. McClenathan took the victory over the five-time Top Fuel champion with a 4.660/307.51 to Schumacher's tire-smoking 5.657/165.01.
"We came into race day prepared to take it one round at a time," said McClenathan. "After we won the first round we had to face our teammate Tony Schumacher and that's the last thing we want to see here at DSR. When we go up against the U.S. Army car it's a very friendly rivalry. Tony had us off the starting line (.030 to .069 reaction time - .000 is perfect). He had a great reaction time and I had just a so-so light, and he had half a car length lead. His car went up in smoke and I went around him and ran a 4.66, which gave us lane choice for the semis.
"We got behind here in the pits prior to the semifinals," McClenathan explained of having to deal with clutch problems. "We had a couple of things go wrong, but we win and lose as a team. Our motor was hot going up to the starting line and we were very late getting up there. I was already in the car when we left the pits. The car made a little bit of extra power and it was too aggressive and we smoked the tires. I kind of knew it might be coming, but even pedaling it didn't help it and Hillary went right on down the track and ran a 4.80.
"We felt the FRAM dragster would have run much better than a 4.80, but it's one of those things where we felt we kind of threw that one away. This was our race to win and we lost it. That put Hillary ahead of us in points and we only moved up one spot. We'll have to wait and try to do it again in Chicago. We've done some good testing there and I feel like Tony and I have two very good cars going into Chicago next weekend. I'm looking forward to that."