Cory Mac Seeks End to Title-round Drought at Gatornationals Fifteen years . . . 29 victories . . . 49 final rounds . . . 15 top 10 finishes . . . They are part of Cory McClenathan's impressive NHRA Top Fuel career. He's done almost ...
Cory Mac Seeks End to Title-round Drought at Gatornationals
Fifteen years . . . 29 victories . . . 49 final rounds . . . 15 top 10 finishes . . .
They are part of Cory McClenathan's impressive NHRA Top Fuel career. He's done almost everything except win a season title (he was second four times) and win three consecutive rounds at Gainesville Raceway.
"That's interesting that I haven't been to a final there in all these years," said the driver of the Carrier Boyz/Scott Griffin Racing FRAM/Torco dragster. "I know we've certainly tried hard there, but Gainesville is just one of those tracks where when we needed a little luck, all we got was bad luck.
"I think it's about time for a change."
That opportunity comes March 16-18 with the 38th running of the ACDelco Gatornationals.
"The Gainesville track has always been a good one," added McClenathan, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. "If it is as good as usual, we could be running in the 4.40s (seconds) again. We haven't run up to our expectations yet this year. I know Wes (Cerny, crew chief) and Tony (Shortall, assistant crew chief) feel the same way.
"Good conditions will help because Wes and Tony can get aggressive with the tune-up. I think they are starting to get in the groove as far as the tune-up goes and we should be able to qualify well and, hopefully, go some rounds on Sunday. I'd be happy with a starting spot in the top five."
McClenathan, who is 10th in POWERade Series points with 84, prefers tacking on as many round wins as possible as soon as possible. NHRA's new Countdown to the Championship slices the contenders to eight after 17 races.
"We need to keep pace with the rest of the top teams," said McClenathan. " That's a necessity if we want a shot at the championship later."
Some may think it is relatively early to be fretting about points because 15 races remain before the Countdown's first cuts. But that does, nonetheless, put a premium on collecting multiple round-wins per outing to maintain a healthy title outlook. The field shrinks to four for the final two races.
"I don't know why we haven't done well at Gainesville," McClenathan said. " I guess that's just one of drag racing's mysteries that needs to be solved."
The search for answers begins with qualifying sessions at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Eliminations commence at 11 a.m.