Gainesville: Cory McClenathan preview

McCLENATHAN SEEKS FIRST GATORS WIN BROWNSBURG, Ind. (March 10, 2009) - In his 18-year career as a Top Fuel racer, Cory McClenathan has collected 30 national-event wins in 53 final rounds. These victories were scored at 16 different racing venues...

McCLENATHAN SEEKS FIRST GATORS WIN

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (March 10, 2009) - In his 18-year career as a Top Fuel racer, Cory McClenathan has collected 30 national-event wins in 53 final rounds. These victories were scored at 16 different racing venues on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series circuit. Obviously, he's repeated at several of these drag strips, but there's one that has eluded him over the years, and that is Gainesville Raceway, home of the 40th annual NHRA Gatornationals, coming up this weekend.

McClenathan drives the FRAM Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, is currently ninth in the point standings following the first two events of the 2009 season, and he's looking to add the Gatornationals to his list of triumphs at the track where he's been low qualifier twice, in 1993 and 1994.

His 2009 season so far has been a little rough, with one quarterfinal finish at the season opener and a red-light start at the second event. Add into the mix new crew chiefs and a whole new crew, and the result is a challenge to win McClenathan his first Top Fuel championship, but it's clear he and the FRAM team are up to the task.

"I look back at the points and I'm thinking, Are you kidding me? We ought to be in the top five right now," said McClenathan, "and then I look at how close the points are and how quickly they can change, and I realize I shouldn't be too concerned.

"We got into this thing counting points from the very first day we rolled into (season-opening) Pomona. And my red light in Phoenix has kind of lived with me the last couple of weeks. I just want to get up and get over it. We tested at West Palm Beach this week and I'm looking forward to rolling into Gainesville and doing well and putting all that behind me.

"I think Todd and Phil (crew chiefs Okuhara and Shuler) are thinking the same thing. Let's get in there, qualify, and show these guys what we're really made of. Let's just start the season right now.

"We've allowed the competition to kind of get a leg up on us, so we have some making up to do, but I think the FRAM Top Fuel dragster team can do it, and obviously I have more than enough confidence in Todd and Phil. I think they've been doing a great job. They work together so well, and I want to make up for what I did in Phoenix for them and do well in Gainesville.

"I'm excited to get to the Gatornationals," added McClenathan. "It is an important race because I've always gone through my racing career thinking I want to win one race at every single event we go to. Gainesville's been one of those events that's kind of eluded me and I want to make sure that I get to do that. So that’s one goal I'm really working hard towards.

"I know Phil and Todd and all the boys on the FRAM team are also excited to get there. We have great DSR teammates in Mike Green, Neal Strasbaugh and Tony Schumacher (all on the U.S. Army Top Fuel team). We all work together. So, I think once we hit our stride we're going to be tough to beat. I just want it sooner than later."

-credit: dsr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Don Schumacher