Gainesville: Cory McClenathan preview

McCLENATHAN SEEKS FIRST GATORNATIONALS VICTORY GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 10, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan will be looking to score his 30th career Top Fuel victory at this weekend's NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the third stop on the...

McCLENATHAN SEEKS FIRST GATORNATIONALS VICTORY

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 10, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan will be looking to score his 30th career Top Fuel victory at this weekend's NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the third stop on the 24-event 2008 POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule. The driver of the FRAM Top Fuel dragster is seeking his first win at the legendary Florida facility, one of the few tracks on the NHRA tour where he has yet to appear in a final round since starting his pro career in 1991.

McClenathan is off to a good start in 2008 after joining the Don Schumacher Racing stable and reuniting with his former crew chief Mike Green. He began the year with a runner-up finish at the season-opener in Pomona and enters the Gatornationals fourth in the point standings. Green has the FRAM Top Fuel dragster performing with consistency, putting together a string of 4.50-second elapsed times at the first two events.

"Looking at what's been accomplished so far, I think Mike and the guys have done a great job with the performance of the FRAM dragster," says McClenathan, who makes his home in Brownsburg, Ind. "We know we're going to have a great track in Gainesville and Mike has the ability to utilize all of the horsepower that the FRAM dragster makes.

"The entire team has adapted very well. Even though they're new guys and I haven't worked with most of them, I would say that we are going in the right direction and everybody is doing his part. Hopefully we'll be able to put the FRAM Top Fuel dragster in the winner's circle very soon."

McClenathan, who qualified No. 6 last year at the Gatornationals and lost first round to Doug Kalitta, is eager to get back to racing after nearly three weeks away from the race track, and he enjoys the atmosphere at the famous Florida quarter-mile.

"Gainesville is an awesome and historic event. They fill the seats and it's incredible. Every single year they seem to have more and more people coming to the race. Our Fridays in Gainesville are starting to look like Saturdays and Sundays, so somebody is not working somewhere, and they're going to the races. That just says a lot for NHRA and POWERade Drag Racing.

"It's one of those things where I'm excited to get there, but I kind of want to let the car speak for itself," he adds. "I would say that we probably have one of the better, more consistent race cars out there right now. We'll just roll in and take one qualifying round at a time and wait for eliminations on Sunday and see who we get matched up against. We used to have eight or nine good cars; now there are 16 good Top Fuel cars out there and anybody can win, no matter where you qualify.

"To win this important event would be an absolutely great achievement, and that's exactly what is our target."

Having "family" on the road with you helps calm the jitters. "I'm taking my new dog Tory on the road with me to Gainesville," says McClenathan. "I'm doing the motor home thing and getting back to the way I like to do it. I'm not big on flying and staying in hotels, so I'll be back in more of a comfort zone."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan