Commerce: Cory McClenathan preview

Improvement in Clutch Area Renews Confidence For McClenathan, Carrier Boyz Top Fuel Team Cory McClenathan really is taking the long, winding road to the Atlanta area. He'll be tacking approximately 2,000 more miles on his GMC truck and towing...

Improvement in Clutch Area Renews Confidence For McClenathan, Carrier Boyz Top Fuel Team

Cory McClenathan really is taking the long, winding road to the Atlanta area. He'll be tacking approximately 2,000 more miles on his GMC truck and towing his 36-foot Escalade trailer.

The latter is his home away from home while the NHRA POWERade Series is on its first South/Midwest tour of the year. It begins with the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Commerce, Ga., April 27-29, a race McClenathan won three years ago.

There's no doubt the Lake Havasu, Ariz., resident will be ready to swap the seat in his truck for the cockpit of the 330-mph Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM Top Fuel dragster. If only the dragster could tow the trailer and still run 330 mph . . .

McClenathan is quite optimistic about his chances on Sunday, thanks to a very productive test session at Las Vegas (April 16), instigated by one-race clutch specialist John Stewart.

"Bringing 'Stewie' to Vegas definitely helped us," McClenathan said. "He made us look at where we've been in the clutch area and where we are going. Wes (Cerny, crew chief) and Tony (Shortall, assistant crew chief) are making a ton of horsepower but we haven't been able to consistently apply it to the race tracks. The clutch is at the heart of that area.

"We tried different setups in testing in day and night runs, bad tracks and decent tracks and the changing weather conditions. We learned something on every run and I think we should be able to win rounds at Atlanta. We want to make that work for us right away."

This is the sixth of 17 races that will decide the eight drivers who will advance to the second round of the new Countdown to the Championship format adopted by NHRA. There is urgency in McClenathan's voice when he talks about winning rounds. He needs to add wins if he's to remain in title contention for all 23 races.

He's 11th with 200 points but is only two rounds (at 20 points each) out of eighth and three rounds out of seventh.

'Heartache' for Virginia Tech Families

"It was hard to think about racing early last week because of the tragedy and heartache at Virginia Tech University," said McClenathan. "My heart goes out to all those who were touched by it. It affected many lives. My daughter Courtney is 16 and just beginning to think about college. We used to think our kids always would be safe there."

-credit: cbr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan