McClenathan Looks Ahead; Excited about New Team's Potential Seventeen races ago, Cory McClenathan believed he and seven other Top Fuel drivers would be going down the Countdown to the Championship road that leads to the final four, and,...
McClenathan Looks Ahead; Excited about New Team's Potential
Seventeen races ago, Cory McClenathan believed he and seven other Top Fuel drivers would be going down the Countdown to the Championship road that leads to the final four, and, eventually to the title.
That was two owners, one crew chief and some mettle-testing times ago. But the sometimes fiery, always competitive McClenathan didn't give up. He fought not to just stay competitive, but to have a team, period. And when the 17th event came and went, he was 56 points short of meeting his goal.
Now, as he readies for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals -- the sport's oldest, most prestigious event -- McClenathan is concentrating on the performance of his new Mac Motorsports FRAM Top Fuel team. While others are vying for the 2007 crown, he is launching his 2008 pre-season test mode when the 53rd U.S. Nationals begins Friday.
"It was disappointing not to be in the top eight," said McClenathan, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. "But at the same time, I am excited with the potential our new team has shown in just a relatively short period of time. We tied for low e.t. in the first round at Maple Grove (4.526 seconds, at Reading, Pa., Aug. 19)." He also had an impressive .011-second reaction time in defeating Larry Dixon, 4.526 to 4.702 seconds.
Although he lost to eventual race winner Doug Herbert in the quarterfinals -- when an aggressive tune-up forced him to pedal the throttle -- McClenathan said the crew was "improving with each race; they are becoming very efficient. I'm excited about the Indy race. It's one I'd like to win again, and I think we have the potential to do that.
"Keith Adams, our new crew chief, and Tony Shortall, our assistant crew chief, have been working well together. They did a good job at Reading."
McClenathan, who has U.S. Nationals victories in 1996 and 1999, is in his 16th full season of Top Fuel racing. He also has an impressive string of 15 consecutive top 10 POWERade Series appearances, including four in second place. He's 11th with 736 points going into Indy, 30 out of 10th and 53 out of ninth.
"Our incentive for the rest of the season is to work on a tune-up that will help us run with the leaders next year," McClenathan said. "We've had our ups and downs this year, but that is all behind us now.
"We want to be a thorn in the side of every Top Fuel car out here for the rest of the year . . ."
On a more personal note, McClenathan added, "I want to send condolences to FRAM's Kelley O'Donnell and her family. Her mother, Michelle O'Donnell, recently passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with them."