Cory Mac Richmond Preview

Virginia is for Cory Mac DINWIDDIE, Va. (April 27, 1999) - - Ask Cory McClenathan about Virginia Motorsports Park and you get a Chamber of Commerce response. "I love the place," said McClenathan. "We're looking forward to getting back to the...

Virginia is for Cory Mac

DINWIDDIE, Va. (April 27, 1999) - - Ask Cory McClenathan about Virginia Motorsports Park and you get a Chamber of Commerce response.

"I love the place," said McClenathan. "We're looking forward to getting back to the track."

McClenathan doesn't have to wait much longer. Friday he will be at the track near Richmond, driving the Joe Gibbs-owned MBNA Top Fuel dragster when qualifying begins for Sunday's Pennzoil Nationals.

McClenathan appreciates the facility for several reasons. It's a good track, the people are friendly, and most important he has won twice and finished second once in the four races contested in Virginia.

He defeated Joe Amato in last year's title round, one of his six NHRA Winston Series victories in '98. He beat Blaine Johnson in the inaugural race in 1995 and was runner-up to Gary Scelzi in 1997.

This time around, the personable driver from Anaheim, Calif., is looking for his first 1999 win. "We've had some problems because our car isn't running consistently," said the driver nicknamed Cory Mac. "Finding consistency in our tune-up is taking longer than we anticipated.

"The Virginia track has gotten better every year and I think we could see some records this weekend. Our engine is making plenty of power, we just have to learn to tame it."

In the semifinal against Scelzi, McClenathan had a quicker reaction time, .456 to .474, but his car began smoking the tires. Scelzi was an easy winner with a 4.608 at 318.47 mph to a 5.177 at 203.75 mph.

Scelzi's win continued an interesting streak McClenathan has fashioned this year. In the five races, the driver who eliminated him went on to win the race four times, and all five reached the title round. Mike Dunn beat McClenathan at the Winternationals (Pomona, Calif.), Joe Amato won at Phoenix, Doug Herbert at Houston and Scelzi at the Motorplex. Only Herbert, who was second to Dunn at Gainesville, Fla., was the runner-up.

McClenathan is in the midst of one of Top Fuel's parity-filled championship races. With five of 22 races in the books, he is sixth with 282 points, but just six rounds out of first place.

The battle between the cars' crew chiefs and the track begins Friday with qualifying at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday's sessions are at noon and 4 p.m., followed by Sunday's eliminations at 11 a.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Mike Dunn , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac