Denver: Cory McClenathan preview

New car and trailer highlight Carrier Boyz Racing bid for win at Denver MORRISON, Colo. (July 13, 2004) -- Cory McClenathan, driver of the Carrier Boyz Racing Berryman Products Top Fuel dragster, opens the second half of the 2004 season on a...

New car and trailer highlight Carrier Boyz Racing bid for win at Denver

MORRISON, Colo. (July 13, 2004) -- Cory McClenathan, driver of the Carrier Boyz Racing Berryman Products Top Fuel dragster, opens the second half of the 2004 season on a track that he has done well at throughout his 13-plus years on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Bandimere Speedway, near Denver, the site of this weekend's NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals, has produced two Top Fuel wins (1997 and 1998) and one runner-up (2002) for McClenathan. The veteran driver has also advanced to the semifinal round three times (1992, 1999 and 2000).

In fact, McClenathan's very first win in NHRA came at Bandimere Speedway. In his first national event race as a sportsman driver in Top Alcohol Dragster, McClenathan defeated the late Blaine Johnson in 1989.

"Bandimere is just one of those places, for some odd reason, I've always seemed to do well," said McClenathan, who has 350 round wins in 250 professional events. "I do know I love coming here. I love the Bandimere Family (track owners). They do an awesome job with their race track. I wish I knew the secret of doing well here; I'd try to make it happen at other race tracks.

"Hopefully, some of that magic will be with us this weekend. With the second half of the season starting, it's crunch time for POWERade points. We need for this Berryman Products dragster to go to the later rounds. That means more points."

Entering this event, McClenathan is seventh in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings with 658 points. By advancing to the later rounds he can position himself to move up in the current standings. He is just five points behind sixth and 37 points out of fifth.

Todd Smith and the Carrier Boyz Racing crew plan to bring back the new Murf McKinney car that has been undergoing repairs since it was damaged in a wheelstand at the Columbus event in mid-June. All involved feel this second debut will produce the results that were expected from the car at its initial outing in Columbus. The team, along with Cory Mac, Andy Carrier and Berryman Products' Maurice Blankenship, will also debut their new state-of-the-art Featherlite trailer at Craig Hospital on Wednesday.

Craig Hospital will host its 12th annual Motorsports Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, July 14, in the vicinity of Girard and S. Clarkson streets in Englewood, Colo. The purpose of this annual event is to provide current and former patients with an opportunity to view world-class automobiles, vehicles modified for drivers with disabilities, and to meet celebrity guests. Admission is free, and an outdoor BBQ lunch is $6 and will be served between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Teams have always had problems with the altitude at Bandimere but they now have a new challenge as NHRA has mandated the use of a new tire beginning at Denver. McClenathan is not sure what to expect when professional qualifying gets underway.

"Right away, I expect the tires to affect us," reflected McClenathan on the rule change. "It may be good that it's happening at Denver. The attitude affects the performance of these high horsepowered cars, so it may be easier to get a grip on the track surface. It will be tricky just the same as we figure out how these tires will react. It's just another element to add to the mix in trying to get these cars to perform at their optimum."

The professional qualifying schedule calls for two nitro sessions on Friday at 5 and 8 p.m. and two on Saturday at 3 and 6 p.m. Final eliminations for all classes get underway on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. All times are subject to change and reflect Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).

Qualifying highlights for the Mopar Mile-High Nationals can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday (July 17) from 8-10 p.m. ESPN2 will also air same-day television coverage of eliminations from 9 until 11:30 p.m. on Sunday (July 18). Television times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and subject to change at anytime.

-cbr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac , Todd Smith