McClenathan qualifies No. 9 on last try
Chicago, Saturday: Fram Top Fuel dragster driver Cory McClenathan waited until his final qualifying attempt to lay down a good lap to qualify No. 9 for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
McClenathan was 16th going into the final qualifying session after three difficult attempts. Just before a rain delay halted the action for over three hours, he blasted to an elapsed time of 4.598 seconds at 324.75 mph to move into No. 8 at the time and solidly into the field. Following the delay, the Top Fuel session was completed and “Cory Mac” ended up No. 9 going into eliminations.
He struggled on his first three runs, posting a 9.134/85.28, 4.984/199.46 and a 7.972/88.95, before his final straight charge down the quarter-mile.
"After 18 years of driving one of these cars I've been in this position before," explained McClenathan of being No. 16 with one session left. "You hate to be in that spot with the added pressure of the rain coming. You're the first car out and you're running by yourself. It's a strange feeling but a good one, too, when you know the car is going to run OK.
"I was confident that the Fram car would go down the track, but there's always that chance of something happening. But I was given the orders to get the car from A to B one way or another and luckily for us it worked out.
"Your confidence builds with straight runs and we've had a lot of those. My confidence in Mike Green (crew chief) and the guys is really high," McClenathan said. "Once I got to the 1200-ft. mark and I was ready to pull the parachute I knew we were in the show and I didn't care what we ran. I knew we were in and that's what counts."
He will square off against Hillary Will in round one in Sunday's eliminations.
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