Denver Top Fuel Preview

MCCLENATHAN AIMING FOR THIRD STRAIGHT DENVER WIN MORRISON, Colo. - Cory McClenathan claims he's not the least bit superstitious, but when it comes to keeping his Denver winning streak going, he'll put on a rally cap right away. ...

MCCLENATHAN AIMING FOR THIRD STRAIGHT DENVER WIN MORRISON, Colo. - Cory McClenathan claims he's not the least bit superstitious, but when it comes to keeping his Denver winning streak going, he'll put on a rally cap right away. McClenathan, from Anaheim, Calif., has celebrated victories at Bandimere Speedway the last two seasons behind the wheel of his Joe Gibbs-owned MBNA Top Fuel dragster. With only one victory this season, McClenathan needs a win more than ever to stay in the hunt for the NHRA Winston championship. To better his odds at winning at Denver, the team is going to employ that old adage: stick with what has worked best in the past. During the last two seasons, McClenathan debuted a new car at Denver. This season the team is bringing out what they like to refer to as 'The Tall Car.' "We usually take a brand new car there and start the second half of the season with it and I think that's what we're going to do this year," said McClenathan, who'll lead drivers into the 21st annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, July 15-18, at Bandimere Speedway. "I feel real comfortable at that track and we've been fortunate to win a couple of races back-to-back there. Denver is one of my favorite facilities and we always have a lot of fun going there." Fun is the key word for drivers and crew at the $1.6 million race, the 12th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. In its high altitude environment, Denver can puzzle even the best crew chiefs when it comes to racecar setup. Drivers then are placed in the hot seat, charged with the task of getting the car from point A to point B no matter the circumstances. "There's a few tracks we have on the circuit that can be pretty tricky at times," McClenathan said. "Denver is definitely in that category. The tuners have a tough job getting the right combination, but ultimately it's a driver's game there." McClenathan finished second in Winston points last season with six victories. He's sitting in an uncharacteristic eighth place now following some early season struggles. With new crew chief Rick Castle on board teaming with veteran Jim Brissette, McClenathan feels ready for the challenge. "We're sitting number eight in points and we're actually not that far out of second place," McClenathan said. "Usually there's a big spread between number two and the rest of the pack. There's a lot of parity in the category this season and that's going to make it very exciting as the chase for the championship unfolds near the end of the season." * Charge to the front: Doug Herbert, driver of the Snap-on Tools dragster, is having his finest season in 1999. The Cherryville, N.C. driver has earned two victories this season in four final rounds and sits in a comfortable second place behind Winston points leader Mike Dunn. "It's nice to be close to the leader," said Herbert. "We're also getting the other drivers' attention. Our car is running consistently. We aren't counting points. We're just out there racing. Whatever happens, happens." * Getting back on track: Mike Dunn, driver of the Team Mopar dragster and Winston points leader, has suffered two first round losses in the last two events, causing room for concern in his pit area. "We've got to stop giving away races and get our Team Mopar dragster back on track if we're going to stay in the race for the Winston championship," Dunn said.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Mike Dunn , Cory McClenathan