McCLENATHAN ON TRACK TO MAKE IT FOUR IN ATLANTA INDIANAPOLIS (April 15, 2009) - Despite a change of crew chief and crew on the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel Dragster for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, driver Cory McClenathan is...
McCLENATHAN ON TRACK TO MAKE IT FOUR IN ATLANTA
INDIANAPOLIS (April 15, 2009) - Despite a change of crew chief and crew on the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel Dragster for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, driver Cory McClenathan is pumped by the progress the team has made in such a short time.
In five national events so far, McClenathan stands fifth in the point standings, just 88 points short of first place, and has notched eight round wins, two runner-up finishes and has served notice that the FRAM Tough Guard dragster is living up to its name.
He is a three-time Top Fuel champion at the NHRA Southern Nationals, last year's top qualifier there, and is tied with Larry Dixon for the most Top Fuel titles at this event. A fourth victory would not only propel him into a solo hold on the No. 1 spot at Atlanta Dragway but could launch him even closer to No. 1 in class rankings.
"There's something about going to a track where you've done well that excites you and makes you feel comfortable," said McClenathan, who is seeking his first TF championship since he entered the class in 1991. "We've had a good time in Atlanta. We've always done well there, qualified well, won a lot of races there.
"I think the way this FRAM Tough Guard car has been running lately, it should run well there too. (Crew chiefs) Todd (Okuhara) and Phil (Shuler) have done an excellent job, as the whole FRAM Tough Guard crew has, with something that's fairly new to them." McClenathan's entire crew came over from the Funny Car category this season.
"Here we are going into our sixth race of the season and we're already counting points," added McClenathan. "I guess we started counting points from day one. Altanta will be a great one for us to win. It will be nice if we could rebound from a second-round loss against our teammate (Tony Schumacher at the last event in Las Vegas). It was good to see Tony win and take over the points lead, but we still have to play catch-up. So now's a good time to make up some ground and I can't think of a better place to do it than Atlanta."
This season, McClenathan has been an underdog, or so it has appeared from a media standpoint. "We proved we could qualify well, we proved we could go to final rounds. We have already been to two of them this year," said McClenathan, a serious contender for the 2008 championship who ended up third. "It's kind of funny that we're overlooked, but I don't mind it that much, and I think Todd Okuhara kind of thrives on it.
"He knows that he's getting more and more data on this car, he's getting more and more rounds under his belt, he knows what he can and can't get away with. Between him and Phil I think they've done a great job. We need to qualify well first run on Friday so we can really go for it in the Friday night session. That's the one that seems to be the most important, so I look forward to that.
"At times it's kind of fun to fly underneath the radar, but that's only going to happen for so long, because this FRAM Tough Guard car is going to stand up and start showing its muscle."