SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals
by Kevin McKenna, NHRA.com
Cory McClenathan claimed his first Top Fuel win in more than a year, and Tim Wilkerson ended a winless drought that extended back to the 2004 McClenathan and Wilkerson were joined in the winnerís circle by former POWERade world champion Jason Line. The Summit-backed racer scored his first win of the season over Greg Stanfield, who was seeking his first Pro Stock victory.
Cory McClenathan claimed his first Top Fuel win in more than a year, and Tim Wilkerson ended a winless drought that extended back to the 2004
McClenathan and Wilkerson were joined in the winnerís circle by former POWERade world champion Jason Line. The Summit-backed racer scored his first win of the season over Greg Stanfield, who was seeking his first Pro Stock victory.
ďTo say the least, itís about time,Ē said McClenathan. ďItís been a couple of years since we even had a competitive car. To win my 30th race exactly 30 races after my last win is incredible. Thanks to [crew chief] Mike Green and all the guys who work on my team and the crew at Don Schumacher Racing. Itís great to be a part of that team. Hopefully, I will be able to finish my career there.
ďI kept lane choice all day, and we worked it. We also had a lot of help from all of the other teams. There was a sea of different-colored uniforms over there, and that happens at the shop, too. There were 30 guys working on our race car. I just stayed back and did my job when it was time to race.
ďAntron Brown is a great driver who is learning really fast, and Lee [Beard] is a great crew chief, so I was taking nothing for granted. We made some good runs, and it was good enough to get the job done.Ē
Two weeks after winning his first Top Fuel event, former Pro Stock Motorcycle ace Brown nearly claimed his second title with a solid performance from his Matco Tools dragster. Brown posted a 4.68 opening-round win against Bob Vandergriff Jr.ís UPS dragster, but he later had to pedal the car in his tire-smoking wins against Kalitta Racing teammates Hillary Will and Doug Kalitta.
Following the win, McClenathan is ranked fourth in the POWERade standings, behind reigning world champ Tony Schumacher, Larry Dixon, and Brown.
ďThis is kind of cool to see the single-car teams right in this deal, donít you think?Ē said Wilkerson. ď
"This was a hard weekend. The track was treacherous from time to time, but NHRA did a good job, and the Goodyear tires worked well today. The U.S. Smokeless guys helped us change motors after I hurt one against Ron Capps.
"My daughter, Rachael, is 16, and sheís a big Ashley [Force] fan; Iím a big fan, too. Every time Iím around her, Iím impressed. I want to see Ashley get her first win, but I donít want to be the guy in that stat. As for Rachael, sheíll be all right. She wants to see me win, too."
Force, a finalist at the OíReilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil in
ďI get beat on for my driving or lack thereof so many times; itís redeeming to finally win again,Ē said Line. ďI know it was probably deserved. I mean, the numbers donít lie. I have struggled at times, but to win at the
ďToday, I had the best car that Iíve had for a year and a half. It was the car that got it done today. The engine didnít perform as well as I would have liked it to, but the car worked great, especially in the right lane. Everybody struggled in that lane, but when I ran that [6.79] in the semifinals, it was an impressive run by anybodyís standards.
ďThis is three finals in five races, and thatís by far the best start to a season that Iíve ever had,Ē said Line. ďIt also feels really good to be tied for the points lead. Iíd like to think this is the start of a lot of good things to come for [teammate] Greg [Anderson] and myself.Ē
Stanfield, behind the wheel of his Attitude Apparel GXP, also put together a solid run that began with an upset win over Anderson, who shook the tires and slowed. Stanfield got past low qualifier Koretsky on a holeshot in round two and advanced to his fifth Pro Stock final with a 6.82 to 6.87 win over two-time POWERade world hampion Jim Yates.
The Lucas Oil Sportsman champions crowned at the event were Jeff Isbell (Top Alcohol Dragster), Jay Payne (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Lou Ficco Jr. (Comp), Gregg Luneack (Super Stock), John Shaul (Stock), and Randy Balough (Super Gas).
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