MCCLENATHAN TO MAKE BID FOR THIRD U.S. NATIONALS GOLD BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 1, 2009) - Two-time U.S. Nationals champion Cory McClenathan will go for the gold at this weekend's 55th annual U.S. Nationals at Raceway Park in Indianapolis in an ...
MCCLENATHAN TO MAKE BID FOR THIRD U.S. NATIONALS GOLD
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 1, 2009) - Two-time U.S. Nationals champion Cory McClenathan will go for the gold at this weekend's 55th annual U.S. Nationals at Raceway Park in Indianapolis in an attempt to earn his third triumph at this prestigious event.
Driving an all-new FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, McClenathan's goals are simple: qualify well, win, hold on to fourth place in the Countdown to 1 playoffs standings. The chase for the championship among the top 10 in points begins following the U.S. Nationals for the final six events.
"I can't think of a better event at which to claim the first win of the season for the FRAM Tough Guard guys than the U.S. Nationals," said McClenathan. "It would be just fantastic and it would give us great momentum to start off the Countdown.
"We tested a brand-new car last week at Raceway Park," added McClenathan. "It's actually the first DSR car that's ever been built as a dragster. DSR has built Funny Cars before but never a dragster until now.
"All the guys in the fab shop (manager Normand Boutot, who heads up DSR Engineering, Joe Fitzpatrick and David Miller) did a fantastic job with this chassis. The FRAM Tough Guard guys put it together flawlessly and It went out there in testing and it was just like being in the old car. It went A to B just about every single time in the heat when the other guys weren't getting down the track.
"We reeled off a 3.84 (-second elapsed time) clicking it off early in the evening runs. So, we're race ready. It's supposed to work a little better in certain areas of the track, and we're going to need that. If we can get any edge right now, it's the time to do it and utilize it during the Countdown. All we have to do is put decals on it and go out there and rock and roll."
DSR's team manager Lee Beard and the Top Fuel crew chiefs collaborated with Boutot on the design of the new DSR Top Fuel dragster chassis.
As for scoring a U.S. Nationals three-peat, "I've done it twice," said "Cory Mac," the event champion in 1996 and 1999. "It's something every driver wants to do 10 times. Ace (Ed McCulloch, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car crew chief) has done it a lot (six times), Tony Schumacher's done it a lot (seven times). Maybe it's our turn to add to our multiple wins at this event. If you remember who won a championship, the next question that is usually asked is, 'Who won Indy?'
"Obviously, I have my sights set on winning my first championship this year. It would be great to go into the Countdown in fourth spot and battle it out to the end." McClenathan's closest rival for that position is Brandon Bernstein, in fifth, just 11 points behind.
"This is Indy, this is our home turf, it's supposed to be our race. We will be working real hard to win it."
McClenathan was also runner-up at the U.S. Nationals in 1997 and low qualifier in 1993 and 2002.