Las Vegas II: Cory McClenathan preview

Continuing Richmond Win's Momentum Is Goal of Cory McClenathan, FRAM Boost Top Fuel Team at Las Vegas "I play to win." The motto rests near Cory McClenathan's seat in the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM Boost Top Fuel dragster and it captures the ...

Continuing Richmond Win's Momentum Is Goal of Cory McClenathan, FRAM Boost Top Fuel Team at Las Vegas

"I play to win."

The motto rests near Cory McClenathan's seat in the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM Boost Top Fuel dragster and it captures the essence of the driver's competitive desire.

He doesn't like to lose, plain and simple, and right now the veteran throttle jockey from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., is savoring the splendid feeling of winning the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals at Richmond, Va., Oct. 15. It had been 60 races (from April 2004) since his last victory, but the memories remained fresh.

And there's no reason to doubt another win isn't but a few days away.

McClenathan's triumph at Richmond provided a spark that he believes will carry over to the final two NHRA POWERade Series races of the year, beginning with the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals, Oct.27-29, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and concluding at Pomona, Calif. (Nov. 9-12).

This is a team that has overcome several setbacks, including the loss of two chassis in untoward incidents -- one a spectacular accident in Bristol, Tenn., from which he walked away, albeit with painful bumps and bruises.

"There's a spring in our step now, mine and the crew guys," said McClenathan. "I think we'll have good momentum going into the Las Vegas race. Wes (Cerny, crew chief) and Tony (Shortall, assistant crew chief) did a great job at Richmond and so did the crew. They all worked overtime during the season, rebuilding our Brad Hadman race cars when it was needed and winning a race is a great reward.

"I'm glad we were able to move back into the top 10 with that win. It is difficult to win a race, considering how tough the competition is."

McClenathan became the eighth different Top Fuel driver to reach the winner' s circle in 2006 and the standings reflect the competitive look. He is ninth with 970 points, just nine behind eighth-place Morgan Lucas.

2-2-2 Cory Mac at Las Vegas-2

"We are going to be focused on qualifying well at Vegas and trying to better ourselves in points when eliminations begin Sunday," added McClenathan, whose 29 career wins tie him for sixth place on the all-time win list. He has been a finalist 49 times, including a runner-up finish at Columbus, Ohio, in May.

McClenathan is completing his 15th full season of Top Fuel racing and has never finished outside the top 10. He entered just one race in 2001. He's placed second four times and ninth twice, but never eighth or fourth.

Race qualifying is scheduled at 2:30 and 5 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Eliminations get underway on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Cory Mac Looking for Luck in Las Vegas . . .

When in Las Vegas, do what the multitudes do: gamble.

"This is a gambling state, so I might as well step up and try my luck at a poker table. It's for a good cause," said Cory McClenathan, who is one of 13 NHRA drivers playing in the third annual Cards for Kids Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament Wednesday at the Cannery Hotel and Casino. "Maybe we can take our win at Richmond last weekend and parlay it into another win on the poker tables."

McClenathan placed third in the event last year and was the highest-finishing NHRA driver. The event is a fundraiser for the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. Drivers will be playing against each other and fans from across the country, beginning at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, McClenathan has a one-in-eight chance of claiming the eighth and final starting position for Saturday's $100,000-to-win Budweiser Top Fuel Shootout. He was eighth in the final Shootout standings but missed a guaranteed starting berth by one position. The other contenders finished ninth through 15th in a season-long compilation of qualifying points.

"We have to get real lucky to have me pick out the right Budweiser bottle (at the draw for positions Thursday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino). It would be exciting if we have the opportunity to run for the $100 grand."

McClenathan will join a number of NHRA drivers for a 5-6:30 p.m. autograph session in the Hard Rock parking lot before the Shootout function commences at 7 p.m.

-credit: cbr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac , Morgan Lucas