With their wins on Sunday at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, Cory McClenathan and Greg Anderson successfully began their respective quests to become the first drivers to sweep the Western Swing twice. The other winner at the 14th race in the 23-event NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series was Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), who also won at this event in 2009.
McClenathan faced off against Antron Brown – who swept the Western Swing in 2009 – in the Top Fuel final round and his 3.887 at 311.70 in the FRAM dragster was just good enough to outrun Brown's 3.909 at 308.92 in the Matco Tools dragster.
“There's Antron (Brown) and myself in the final, we've both won (the Western Swing)… I want to be the first to win it two times,” said McClenathan, who swept the Western Swing in 1997. “I know that's a lot to ask for, but you can't get there until you win this first one and that's what we did.”
The win also moved McClenathan around teammate Tony Schumacher and into second place in the Top Fuel point standings.
The Funny Car final was also a near photo-finish with Wilkerson (4.221 at 292.39) powering the Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford to a narrow victory over Ron Capps (4.246 at 289.51) and the NAPA Dodge Charger team. It was the third straight final round for the LRS Ford team and second straight win in a space in the schedule – summertime – where they traditionally have done well.
“We're happy to be in the position we're in and we seem to really come into our own in this kind of weather,” said Wilkerson, who moved around Ashley Force Hood into fifth place. “We try not to think about it or do anything to pull us backward. Just go run the racetrack every round.”
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson (left) won his second straight race with a 6.599 at 209.56 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to Johnny Gray's 6.626 at 209.43 in his NTB Pontiac GXP.
“I'm the only guy (in Pro Stock) with a chance to sweep (the Western Swing),” said Anderson, who remains the only Pro Stocker to sweep the Western Swing (he did it in 2004). “It's a neat, neat deal. I've been able to do it once in my career and I remember what a great feeling that was. It's still a long way down the road, and I'm not going to say we're going to win those two races, but we've got a chance. I've got a great hot rod right now.”
The NHRA Full Throttle Series heads south now to Sonoma for the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals, the second leg in the Western Swing.