McClenathan reaches semis, holds No. 3 in points
Dallas, Sunday: Cory McClenathan reached the semifinals today for the seventh time this NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season at the 23rd annual NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex. The driver of the FRAM Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing lost to DSR teammate Tony Schumacher but maintained No. 3 in the Countdown to 1 playoffs standings. He is now within seven markers of second-place competitor Antron Brown and 104 behind Schumacher in first.
No. 5 qualifier McClenathan began eliminations by defeating Joe Hartley with an elapsed time of 3.887 seconds at 307.16 mph, the third quickest run of the opening round. He then took out Clay Millican in the quarterfinals with a 3.968/294.37 to set up his third semifinal match-up of the season against his teammate.
The DSR Top Fuel tandem left the starting line together, but McClenathan, without lane choice and in the less-desirable right lane, lost traction down track, slowing to a 4.646/173.45 pass. Schumacher also hazed the tires but still claimed the win with a 4.025/273.66.
"We're doing all the right things with this FRAM Top Fuel dragster," said McClenathan, who advanced to the semifinals for the third straight event. "We're qualifying in the better half of the field and we're going to the semifinals. I feel like a semifinal bridesmaid, so to speak.
"We knew that Tony was going to run good and we've been running strong all weekend, but we figured we needed to go out there and run at least a 3.90. Alan (Johnson, U.S. Army crew chief) and Mike (Green, FRAM crew chief) talked beforehand and I knew that at that point in time all books are closed. We saw the pair in front of us smoke the tires and I knew I had to be ready if the car did something silly, and I was ready. But it didn't recover good enough and it got out there and started spinning the tires even harder, so I had to shut it off and let Tony go on to win.
"When you have to race a car that is that good and running so strong, you tend to make bigger mistakes than they do and that's what we did."
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