The plan has followed its course.
Back at the Mile-High Nationals in Denver, in July, Lee Beard, team manager at Don Schumacher Racing, said that DSR was building a new dragster chassis in-house with the blessing of noted chassis builder Brad Hadman.
DSR’s in-house dragster is making its debut in the 55th annual U.S. Nationals this weekend and being driven by Cory McClenathan.
“I’m excited about it,” said McClenathan, who pilots the Fram Tough Guard entry. “The guys back at the fab shop and all the crew chiefs, they designed this Top Fuel car to work better in certain areas of the track than what it had in the past. I’m a huge Brad Hadman supporter. He has built everything I have driven for years. As the economy has taken a setback, and the way we’re scheduled and set now, it only makes sense that we do as much in-house as we can at DSR. Don took it upon himself to say ‘let’s build one, and let’s build it the way we want it.’”
DSR has built their Funny Cars in-house for at least two seasons.
“Obviously, Don trust me to say this (the new dragster) is a good piece,” McClenathan said. “I was able to put all the controls and pieces where I wanted them and we’ve gone and done very well with it. We’ve only made six runs on it, and I still think that they (DSR fabricators and crew chiefs) have done a lot of good things. They were able to take the tune-up right from the Hadman car we were running and put it right in the DSR car. It’s has done everything we wanted it to. I’m excited to see what it does in the long-term. It was a collective decision between the crew chiefs and everybody and myself to bring the car out at Indy. If we’re going to grasp for anything extra to utilize in the Countdown, this might be it.”
McClenathan made a 3.863-second pass at 305.36-mph during Friday night’s qualifying.
The top 10 drivers after the U.S. Nationals advance to the Countdown to 1, the six-race playoff to decide the champion. Their points will be reset for the playoffs in 10-point increments with the first-place driver(s) receiving a 20-point bonus.
McClenathan, whose third in the points chase, said the plan to use the DSR dragster beyond Indy is based on its performance this weekend.
“As long as it runs good, we’re going to use it,” McClenathan said. “This is a trial and error deal, drag racing is just that way. If you have a new piece, whether it’s a whole frame or a blower, if it doesn’t work, you’re going to go back to what you know works. We have old faithful sitting upstairs, and it has been a good car all year for us and if it ends up having to come back out, then so be it. But, I guarantee you that we will make whatever changes we need to make to the DSR car and we will run it again and get it right. We’re not the type of team that gives up on anything very easily.”
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