CLERMONT, Ind — FRAM Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan held on to the No. 2 position at the 54th annual U.S. Nationals after five qualifying rounds on the strength of his 3.852-second run at 312.57 mph, recorded on Friday evening. It marked the 10th time this season that McClenathan has entered eliminations from the top half of the 16-car field.
That 3.852-second run was low elapsed time after the first day of qualifying, but his No. 1 was snatched by Larry Dixon on Saturday evening (3.841/307.23). McClenathan's other passes included a 6.305/97.38 (No. 1), 3.900/309.42 (No. 2), 5.178/133.10 (No. 2) and 7.476/75.55 (No. 2). He'll square off against Pat Dakin in the first round of eliminations on Monday.
"Indy always seems to bring on added pressure," said McClenathan, who entered the event No. 4 in the standings and has clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1. "We looked so good going into Friday night that I thought we were going to be just as consistent running in the heat. We just got caught up in the Friday-night session and didn't get back to our hot-weather setup. We're usually pretty stellar in the heat.
"(Crew chief) Mike Green and I will both get out there and do our jobs tomorrow and hopefully go some rounds."