Frontrunner Cory Mac returns to NHRA competition

Front-runner Cory Mac returns with Henkelman ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan 29) -- After a full year's absence, one of drag racing's most prolific drivers, Cory McClenathan, has announced plans to return to the sport as the pilot of Rick Henkelman's Top...

Front-runner Cory Mac returns with Henkelman

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan 29) -- After a full year's absence, one of drag racing's most prolific drivers, Cory McClenathan, has announced plans to return to the sport as the pilot of Rick Henkelman's Top Fuel dragster. The decorated duo plans to begin their assault on the 23-event POWERade Drag Racing Circuit Feb. 7-10 with the season-opening 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

The announcement is a huge boost for the sport due to McClenathan's proven ability on the race track and his wildly-popular relationship with the fans. The 39-year-old Southern Californian has amassed 26 national event victories over his 10-year career, placing him fourth on the all-time list in the Top Fuel category. Always a contender, McClenathan has never finished outside the Top 10 in the championship points standings and is a four-time runner-up to the series' title.

"I'm really looking forward to coming out and playing again," McClenathan said. "It's exciting to be working with Rick, and we're hoping to add David Baca to the team also as a second driver. I started in the Top Alcohol class in 1988 and 1989 and I know how exciting it can be to finally make the move to the professional ranks. I'm really getting some energy off Rick and David's enthusiasm. Plus, it's very obvious that these guys bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the equation. My blood is pumping."

Henkelman and Baca will shelve their successful Top Alcohol Dragster programs to devote their full attention to this new project. That's good news to the rest of the Top Alcohol ranks as Baca's 5.22-second pass of last year is the quickest ever, followed by Henkelman's son Brandon's pass of 5.23 seconds. "It's pretty obvious these guys know how to go fast," McClenathan said. "Their success speaks for itself."

McClenathan may have sat out a year with sponsorship woes but he should feel right at home when he climbs back in the cockpit of his race car. Henkelman purchased the same dragster McClenathan drove to two consecutive wins at the end of the Y2K campaign. The car, which only has a few runs on it, was purchased and held by McClenathan's long-time friend Brad Anderson until McClenathan was ready to race again. Henkelman picked up the car from Anderson Monday and is having it inspected for race readiness in San Diego.

"I can't thank Brad enough for the help he's given me," McClenathan said. "Holding onto this car is just one example. I knew something would shake out eventually. I'm bringing some major associate money to the team and Rick has some big announcements on the horizon for the title sponsor. The association the NHRA has with Coca-Cola and the POWERade brand and the huge success of the TV deal with ESPN are helping us tremendously. For now, I'm just thrilled to be back in the sport I love."

-gm racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers David Baca , Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac