MCCLENATHAN AND FRAM DRAGSTER "WEIGH IN" ON NEW SEASON
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8, 2010) - On an apparent "buddy system," Cory McClenathan and the FRAM Top Fuel dragster have spent a busy off-season losing weight as they both prepared to contend for a championship in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The new season opens this weekend in Pomona at the 50th annual NHRA Winternationals.
"We knew we needed to shed some weight both with the driver and the race car," said McClenathan, who ended the 2009 season fourth in the standings with one victory in four final rounds. "We needed to be 35 pounds lighter and have more power with our package. The FRAM guys (including crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler) went to work on that and I went to work on myself, and it’s been a win-win situation for everybody."
McClenathan clocked personal-best numbers during Florida testing in January of 3.771 seconds and 321.50 mph, buoying his and the FRAM crew's spirits as they embark on a new season of tough competition. His official career-bests racing to 1000 feet are 3.784 seconds and 319.60 mph, both set in Richmond in 2009.
"The competition has gotten so tight that we're just focusing in on all the little things that have to do with these cars and in the off-season we put the car on a huge diet and it really paid off," said McClenathan, who has two wins in Pomona at the NHRA Finals, but none at the Winternationals. "I think it's definitely going to help us.
"At the same time, we tried some new parts in testing, and that seemed to work really well. We ran a couple of 3.77s, a couple of 3.79s, and ran over 320 mph a couple of times.
"We're going into Pomona with probably the best package we've had in a long time, not to mention it's nice to have all the same crew guys back from the year prior.
"We have a brand-new chassis, a great looking paint scheme, with the FRAM orange back as the primary color, and it turned out really well. It's all hand-painted; no wraps for us. We liked the FRAM Tough Guard colors we ran last year, but FRAM wanted to switch it up, and we're all for that.
"I just want to go out and prove that we have one of the better cars in the pack, and I think we do, and obviously I think it's the most consistent. It would be nice to come out of the gate and win the Winternationals. That's one race where I've been to the finals and never won. And that would be a great start for us."
"Cory Mac" has a solid record at Pomona: four No. 1 qualifiers, two wins and two runner-ups between the Auto Club Raceway's two events a year.
As for his rivals this season, "I think the toughest competition is sitting right here at Don Schumacher Racing: my teammates Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown," said McClenathan. "And obviously Larry Dixon. He's going to be right there from the beginning. I think everybody is going to be looking at these four cars as being the top four. There's some other good cars out there, but I think on a consistent basis we have to look at our in-house cars the most."