Topeka: Cory McClenathan preview

Eight races in nine weeks, including six in a row? Bring them on, says Cory McClenathan. "I'm ready for them," said the veteran Top Fuel driver of the grueling NHRA POWERade Series schedule that begins with the O'Reilly Summer...

Eight races in nine weeks, including six in a row?
Bring them on, says Cory McClenathan.

"I'm ready for  them," said the veteran Top Fuel driver of the grueling NHRA
POWERade Series  schedule that begins with the O'Reilly Summer Nationals,
Friday through Sunday,  at Heartland Park Topeka.  "I'm looking forward to the
race.  I think  our team will be up to the challenge.
"We are getting into  the warmer part of the season and that's where Wes
Cerny and Tony Shortall (team  crew chief and assistant crew chief, respectively)
shine with their warm-weather  tune-ups."

McClenathan is in good position to climb into one of the coveted top eight places in the new Countdown to Eight portion of the championship chase. His runner-up finish at St. Louis (May 6) put him 10th with 336 points in the congested field. He is, however, two rounds (40 points) out of sixth and three rounds out of fourth. After 17 events, the top eight will continue their hunt for the top trophy. The contenders drop to four after 21 of the 23 events, leaving the final quartet to vie for No. 1.

"I  could've done better in St. Louis," Cory Mac recalled, "I got one tire
out of  the groove, which was very narrow, and smoked the tires.  If it wasn't
for  that, I probably would've won ther ace and added another 20 points which
are so  valuable in our new point system..because the car got out of the
groove in the  final against Melanie Troxel and that probably cost us the win. But
I think we  are in a good position to make a move up the points ladder.
"I know  those six races in a row will be hard on the guys, but I can drive
smarter to  try and conserve parts and Wes and Tony can make some tuning
adjustments,  too.  We'll just see how it goes."
Two of McClenathan's 29  career victories have come at Heartland Park (1994,
1998), and he was runner-up  in 1993.  He earned his first of four top
qualifying positions at HPT  in1992.  His last came in 2004.  He is in his 16th full
season of Top  Fuel racing.
But, McClenathan admits, he is exasperated with the  on-going transition of
team ownership from Mark and Andy Carrier to Scott  Griffin.
"It has been a month since Mark and Andy  sold the team to Scott," said
McClenathan, "and with this also brings  uncertainty between the driver, the crew
and the sponsors, which are so very  important to us.
"I want to go all out and try to win as  many rounds and races we can so we
can show our sponsors how grateful we are and  that we appreciate all they do
for us.  So to FRAM, Torco Racing Fuels  JEGS, GMC, Mac Tools, Lucas Oil and
Lucas Cycles, Nordic Boats and Seelye-Wright  Automotive Group, we salute you."

-credit: cbr/sgr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan , Melanie Troxel , Cory Mac