Brainerd: Cory McClenathan preview

McCLENATHAN POISED TO CLINCH SPOT IN COUNTDOWN IN BRAINERD BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Aug. 12, 2009) - Once Cory McClenathan makes one qualifying pass in the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster this weekend at the 28th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd ...

McCLENATHAN POISED TO CLINCH SPOT IN COUNTDOWN IN BRAINERD

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Aug. 12, 2009) - Once Cory McClenathan makes one qualifying pass in the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster this weekend at the 28th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway, he will have clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs. That's a good thing.

Winning the event is what "Cory Mac" is also aiming to accomplish. He's been close this season in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, having reached the final round three times so far without taking the trophy. That, two semifinal finishes, 20 round wins and one pole position have placed him squarely in fifth place in the points rankings.

"The objective for me is still to go to every race and try to win," said McClenathan, the 1997 Brainerd Top Fuel champion and runner-up last year, "and if we can end up moving up in points before the Countdown starts, that would be the optimum objective for me." The playoffs for the top 10 in points begin following the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day for the final six events of the season.

"I've always done really well in Brainerd," he added. "Won there once, been in two finals and was No. 1 qualifier twice (in 1992 and 1998). It's just one of those places where we've done fairly well. Not great, but fairly well.

"It's always fun to go there. We can't wait to go to 'the zoo' during the weekend nights. That's always big for the fans. I'm taking my 18-year-old daughter Courtney with me to this event and it will be great to spend some time with her.

"The FRAM Tough Guard guys are ready for it. We have two events in a row now (Reading, Pa., follows next weekend) and we have to concentrate on doing the best we can for these two races. And we have a good hot rod right now. We would have liked to have beaten Antron Brown in the final in Sonoma, but it gave us some momentum going into Brainerd. I don't know what the weather is going to be like there, but if it's going to be warm, we certainly have a good tune-up for it."

Following the Western Swing (three straight events in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.), where McClenathan scored semifinal, first-round and runner-up finishes, he and the FRAM Tough Guard team welcomed the two-week respite before Brainerd.

"I spent some time at home with family, tried to relax a little bit, went to the movies, did some yard work at the house - all the stuff most people find so boring but that I like to do.

"It was good for the FRAM guys to have some time off. We're all now trying to get geared up for the next two events, and then get ready for the U.S. Nationals close to home in Indianapolis on Labor Day."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac