Topeka: Cory McClenathan preview

McClenathan Relaxed, Ready for Good Summer Nationals Ride The familiar orange and black will be back Friday when Cory McClenathan and the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM Boost Top Fuel team begin qualifying for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at...

McClenathan Relaxed, Ready for Good Summer Nationals Ride

The familiar orange and black will be back Friday when Cory McClenathan and the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM Boost Top Fuel team begin qualifying for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Gone is the yellow and black look of last week's special JEG'S Mail Order car, but it's the same dragster that will be attempting to emulate and surpass McClenathan's runner-up performance in Columbus, Ohio.

"We have just 14 runs on our new car and we've already been to the finals," said McClenathan, who climbed into ninth place in NHRA POWERade Series points. "Wes Cerny (crew chief), Tony Shortall (assistant crew chief) and all the guys on the crew have done a tremendous job on this car. It just shows how talented they are.

"We came out after the accident and were competitive right away."

McClenathan's 330-mph ride was assembled in the Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway pit area last month, less than 24 hours after the spectacular crash that became one of the most talked about drag racing incidents in quite a while. He walked away with very sore muscles, bumps and bruises, and was willingly strapped into this new car some 36 hours after his wild, wild ride.

"I'm glad that is all behind us," added McClenathan, "and it feels good to get back into the top 10. I said right after the accident that that was not the way we wanted to get publicity. We'd rather do it with performance, and it looks like that's the direction we are now going."

The hot weather forecast for Topeka this week could be a good thing his team, McClenathan pointed out. "Wes and Tony have a pretty good hot-weather tune-up, so we like to see high temperatures (high 80s to low 90s) like the ones they're predicting."

McClenathan said it was a parts failure that caused his engine to expire with a boom in Sunday's final-round race against Brandon Bernstein in Columbus. "It was just one of those things that happens in this sport.

"Actually, we ran well at Columbus in cool weather. Those are the conditions where we've struggled lately, so it appears the new car is responding to the changes Wes and Tony are making. That's always a good sign."

McClenathan has won twice at Heartland Park (1994 and 1998) and was runner-up in 1993.

"I guess we need to update our resume in Topeka," he said.

McClenathan, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., noted his body is just about recovered from the April 28 crash. He's also returned to the road, driving his GMC truck and travel trailer to the races.

"I stopped at a KOA on the trip from Columbus and was able to relax for a day. That helped a lot. I enjoy the drives and getting away from the hectic airline travel. It's a lot of fun. I haven't been able to do that for a long time. My thanks to Mark and Andy Carrier, who had someone drive my truck and trailer to Columbus (from Lake Havasu) for me."

-cbr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan , Brandon Bernstein