McClenathan lands in semifinals, ends season third in points
Pomona, Sunday: FRAM Top Fuel dragster driver Cory McClenathan ended the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing Series season with a semifinal finish today at the 44th annual NHRA Finals at historic Pomona (Calif.) Raceway. It was his eighth semifinal result of the year and moved him up to No. 3 in the final Top Fuel point standings.
McClenathan and the FRAM dragster were consistent all day, defeating Doug Kalitta in the first round with an elapsed time of 3.878 seconds at 313.00 mph and Troy Buff in the quarterfinals with a 3.880/312.57. The first-round win and Hillary Will's elimination in the opening round moved McClenathan into No. 2 in points. And for him to achieve his goal of going home with a runner-up season finish to his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher came down to the important semifinal match-up against Larry Dixon. The winner of that round would be assured second place in the point standings.
The two cars left the starting line together and ran side-by-side to the finish line where Dixon just nipped McClenathan by .0315 of a second, using a 3.855/309.98 pass to McClenathan’s 3.874/309.77 lap and took over second place.
“All the emphasis was on the Funny Car points battle and nobody seemed to realize all the scenarios in Top Fuel for second place,” said McClenathan, who is still seeking his first Top Fuel crown. “We could have finished second or seventh coming in here and nobody emphasized just how close second place really was in Top Fuel. It just wasn’t the big story but, in my eyes, it was all I could think about last night.
“We did well against Doug Kalitta in the first round and Troy Buff in the second round and then in the third round our destiny was in our own hands. We had to beat Larry Dixon, one of the best drivers out there, and we decided to go for it. From about half-track on the FRAM dragster was spinning the tires and moving toward the center line, but I told the guys I wasn’t going to lift for nothing. I never saw him and I knew it was a good, tight, clean race.
“The fans got everything they wanted to see today. Going into the race with Dixon we were one point away from being able to be in second place and it’s frustrating to finish third. Considering the way my career has been the last few years third place is a great place to be, but I really wanted to finish in second place for me and my FRAM guys.
“Whatever happens next year is next year but right now I’m just proud of my guys and the FRAM team. They stuck with me and stood behind me and they knew we had what it took on and off the track and that’s really what’s important.”
Return to Team Reports Archive
Return to the Home Page