Cory McClenathan secured his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season when his quickest pass in NHRA Full Throttle Series history from Friday wasn't threatened on Saturday as qualifying concluded at the 41st annual NHRA Supernationals. There were no changes in any of the other three categories either as Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle) remained on top of their respective qualifying ladders.
McClenathan's 3.752-second pass at 324.75 mph from Friday night in the FRAM dragster was the quickest and second-fastest run in since NHRA moved to 1000-foot racing two years ago. It was the 37th No. 1 of his career.
“We know it's hot and had to dial it back a bit today, but we ran a (4.)81 this morning and I think it was going to repeat that on the afternoon run before it knocked the burst panel out. (Sunday), with the bye run, if the conditions are right, I think you'll see us go for that national record.”
“I expected Larry (Dixon) to be right there with us, (Tony) Schumacher, too,” said McClenathan, “and I expect to have to go toe to toe with them (Sunday), too. The playing field is really level; there's a lot of parity out there now. It's not just four good cars anymore – there's six, seven, eight good cars. Anyone who qualifies can win.”
Hight (4.025, 313.00) remained red-hot with his third straight No. 1, fifth of 2010, and the 37th of his career in just his 127th race. Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team have been to four straight final rounds – winning three times – to assume the points lead in Funny Car from John Force, who'd led the Funny Car standings from Race 1 to Race 9.
“That last run today (a best-of-session 4.138) was huge,” said Hight. “We smoked the tires the first session and then low e.t. of the session tonight, so that was big and gives (crew chief) Jimmy Prock something to tune on.”
In Pro Stock, defending NHRA Full Throttle Series champion Edwards (6.513, 211.49) set both ends of the Old Bridge Township Raceway Park track record in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to record his NHRA-leading ninth No. 1 this season.
“We'll just race the race like we always do and do your job. If I do mine and the crew does theirs, our chances are good. If we don't, we won't win. There are too many good cars out there right now and we're all so close. It's down to who does the best job Sunday.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Michael Phillips' track records for e.t. and speed from Friday aboard the Phillips Racing Suzuki – 6.855, 197.16 – held up to give him his first career No. 1 qualifier in his 160th career race.
“I'm just trying my best to ride that motorcycle and hit all my shifts and hope I can seal the deal (Sunday),” said Phillips. “We knew today was going to be hot and slippery out there so we're trying some things in the clutch today.
“It's supposed to be hot (again Sunday), but I'm from Louisiana where it's always hot, and I can make my bike run pretty good when the weather is bad.”
Final eliminations at the NHRA Supernationals begin Sunday at 11 a.m.