Charlotte: Cory McClenathan preview

McCLENATHAN PRIMED TO BEGIN CHAMPIONSHIP CHARGE IN CONCORD BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 8, 2008) -- This weekend's inaugural NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway @ Concord, N.C., is a welcome fresh face on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series ...

McCLENATHAN PRIMED TO BEGIN CHAMPIONSHIP CHARGE IN CONCORD

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 8, 2008) -- This weekend's inaugural NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway @ Concord, N.C., is a welcome fresh face on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit. With the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art race track, an untapped market, and an entirely unique fan base ready to be exposed to the excitement of pro nitro drag-racing action, one thing remains a constant for FRAM Top Fuel dragster driver Cory McClenathan: his burning desire to win his first world championship.

The most tenured driver in the class, with 17 years of experience to draw from, has come ever so close to claiming that crown, earning second place in the point standings four times. A lot has changed for McClenathan this year. He joined Don Schumacher Racing full time and is driving more relaxed in the knowledge that he has a solid crew chief in Mike Green and a strong team he can rely on day to day.

In what some would call a resurgent season, McClenathan has been to three final rounds, winning the event in Las Vegas in April and qualifying No. 1 twice along the way. The consistently strong performances by McClenathan and the FRAM crew have placed him No. 4 In the Countdown to 1 six-race playoffs for the championship. He sits just 50 points out of first place with 24 rounds (20 points per round) or racing to decide the champion.

"The FRAM Top Fuel team is very excited," said McClenathan. "We know where we stand in the points going into this weekend's start of the playoffs. We're two-and-a-half rounds of racing out of first place going into the last six races. I'm sure it's going to be tough for my teammate and points leader Tony Schumacher (U.S. Army dragster), since he has to give up his big lead (567 points down to 30). He's been so tough all year, but it puts us in a position with our FRAM Top Fuel dragster to go in and have a chance to win a championship.

"The Countdown format is definitely working out and I'm excited about that this year. It has everyone behind us breathing down our necks so it's going to be very exciting for the fans and the racers to see how this thing plays out."

McClenathan is equally thrilled with the opportunity to race at another of Bruton Smith's stellar racing facilities this weekend.

"It's a great honor to start the Countdown at Bruton Smith's new track in North Carolina," he added enthusiastically. "I don't think there could be a more fitting place to kick things off: a brand-new facility and the first time everybody has raced there. Everyone is going to have to be on their game and everyone will be on fair ground. I think it's going to be very interesting. You're going to see some spoilers who are out of the top 10 trying to spoil the deal for everybody in the top 10. A lot of the top-10 cars are going to have to race each other on Sunday and that's going to be exciting to watch."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Don Schumacher