Gainesville Top Fuel; Pontiac presence will be felt

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 9, 2000) - The NHRA championship tour and the promise of spring arrive simultaneously on the East Coast at the 31st annual Mac Tools Gatornationals on March 16-19 at Gainesville Raceway, the third race on the 23-event ...

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 9, 2000) - The NHRA championship tour and the promise of spring arrive simultaneously on the East Coast at the 31st annual Mac Tools Gatornationals on March 16-19 at Gainesville Raceway, the third race on the 23-event Winston Drag Racing circuit. Final eliminations of the Gatornationals can be seen on Sunday, March 19, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern. Qualifying highlights can be seen on Saturday, March 18, beginning at 8 p.m.

As he sits in the No. 9 spot in the Winston Top Fuel points battle, MBNA Pontiac Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan is ready to make his presence noticed as he prepares for the Gatornationals.

"I was hoping that our performance would be better than it has been at this point, but as a driver I think that's something I will always wish for," McClenathan said. "On the other hand, we have a whole new team in place this season, and with Wes Cerny (crew chief) going from a Funny Car to a Top Fuel dragster, there's going to be a transition period which I think we're in the middle of right now. We're hanging in there so far. We're currently No. 9 in the point's race and it's still early in the season, so a lot can happen. I'm just hoping we can step things up for the rest of the season. After the race in Phoenix, we stayed and did some testing on the MBNA/Pontiac Top Fuel dragster. We were trying some new parts on the car, which really didn't have much to do with our performance during the weekend in Phoenix. We're trying to find better ways to run the car down the track, so we did some testing on mostly parts for in the future. Things went very well, and we found some extra horsepower, but we just need to work with the clutch and learn how to harness it. Gainesville just might be a good place to run some of these new parts actually, but we'll have to wait and see how that goes.

"Gainesville is a big race for everybody, and we have a lot of people from MBNA coming down and also the people that own the car. So we really look forward to this event. Gainesville is a place that you're able to use as much horsepower as you can and not really smoke the tires because the track surface is in excellent condition. I think everybody is looking forward to that. We'll find out exactly how the ET's and speed are going to come to us, because if we try, this track will give us a win."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan