Norwalk: Cory McClenathan preview

McCLENATHAN, FRAM TOUGH GUARD TEAM FOCUS ON IMPROVEMENT BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 23, 2009) - Cory McClenathan is still reeling from his Top Fuel second-round loss on a holeshot in Englishtown, N.J., last week, in the 11th round of 24 in the 2009...

McCLENATHAN, FRAM TOUGH GUARD TEAM FOCUS ON IMPROVEMENT

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 23, 2009) - Cory McClenathan is still reeling from his Top Fuel second-round loss on a holeshot in Englishtown, N.J., last week, in the 11th round of 24 in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. In a very competitive category in which rounds are often won or lost at the starting line, McClenathan and the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel team are focused on improving in that department as they head to Summit Racing Equipment Motorsport Park for this weekend's NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

"We do have a good race car, and (crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler and the guys have done a great job with the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster. The weakest link has been me the last couple of weeks," said McClenathan, who was eliminated on a holeshot in each of the last two events. "It's not like I'm going out there and throwing them away on purpose. Obviously, we try 100 percent every time, but my lights (reaction times) need to get better and that's all there is to it, if I want to beat some of these kids out here."

It's important to note that McClenathan has also been on the winning end of a holeshot this season, defeating Larry Dixon in the opening round of eliminations in Atlanta with a slower elapsed time.

"We're being pro-active," he added. "I'm working on making improvements on my side and the FRAM Tough Guard boys are working on making adjustments with the car. Hopefully, that will pay off. But I can assure you of one thing: we're all working hard at it.

"It is really tough out there in the Top Fuel class," said 30-time national-event winner McClenathan, who has reached two final rounds so far this season. "I think one element that people don't realize with these 1000-foot race tracks is that if you're not close it's no cigar; you're not going to make the program. Had we had an extra 320 feet (1320 feet make up a quarter-mile) in the last couple of races, we probably would have driven around them, but we don't have that right now.

"So, we need to be on our game on the starting line. There's a lot of variables and we need to get them all right. Like Todd said, this is just like the prelims, just qualifying. Once we get to Indy (the U.S. Nationals, the final event before the Countdown begins), we need to be on the same page all the way around, and that's what we intend to work at.

"I'm excited to be racing in Norwalk," said McClenathan, who qualified No. 2 there in 2008. "I also did well there when I competed in IHRA races, and I look forward to doing well there again this weekend."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Cory McClenathan