McClenathan, FRAM Top Fuel Team Begin Important Run to Solidifying Berth in Countdown to Eight With the much anticipated -- and dreaded -- six-pack of NHRA POWERade Series events approaching ominously like the Evil Empire, Cory McClenathan ...
McClenathan, FRAM Top Fuel Team Begin Important Run to Solidifying Berth in Countdown to Eight
With the much anticipated -- and dreaded -- six-pack of NHRA POWERade Series events approaching ominously like the Evil Empire, Cory McClenathan is getting ready to strike back.
"The next six races are going to tell the big story," says McClenathan, " not only for the fans but for the racers as well. The Countdown to Eight part of our new championship format has eight races remaining, so the next six weeks put a whole new spin on things."
Indeed they do. Only the top eight drivers after the first 17 events remain in title contention. And that number drops to four after four more races, leaving the surviving quartet to decide things in the season's final two races.
McClenathan and his Scott Griffin Motorsports FRAM Top Fuel team sit ninth in series points (419) after nine outings, but right now no one's position is safe in the top eight. He is two rounds out of sixth (at 20 points per round win) and four rounds behind fifth spot as the team prepares to launch the important sextet with the Pro Care Rx SuperNationals, June 22-24, at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
"We've done fairly well at Raceway Park in the past and we are looking forward to getting after it," said McClenathan, who has been runner-up there three times (1992, 1998, 2004). "We really need to win rounds. We want to get ourselves in a good qualifying spot and have lane choice on Sunday. We are counting points and the long stretch on the road makes everything a lot more interesting.
"We don't necessarily have to win races as much as we need to be consistently winning rounds and trying to make it to at least the semifinals. Getting into the finals and winning a couple races would be that much better. Heck, I' ll take one round win compared to a first-round loss."
McClenathan was runner-up at St. Louis last month in his 50th career final round. He has 29 victories and 394 round wins in his 15-plus seasons, putting him six shy of an impressive round-win milestone.
"We've been making sure we are prepared for races coming up," he said. "We' ve been gathering parts and making sure everyone on the crew is on top of his game, from the (engine) bottom end guy all the way up to myself, Wes Cerny, our crew chief, and Tony Shortall, our assistant crew chief. It's important that everybody works together.
"It would be great to get this thing started on a good note."