MCCLENATHAN SMILING EN ROUTE TO VEGAS INDIANAPOLIS (April 7, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan heads into the NHRA Nationals at The Strip a Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend with a smile on his face. He knows that the FRAM Top Fuel dragster team is...
MCCLENATHAN SMILING EN ROUTE TO VEGAS
INDIANAPOLIS (April 7, 2008) -- Cory McClenathan heads into the NHRA Nationals at The Strip a Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend with a smile on his face. He knows that the FRAM Top Fuel dragster team is a win waiting to happen and that it could come at the fifth stop on the 24-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour.
McClenathan is coming off of a quarterfinal finish at the Spring Nationals in Houston, which moved him from eighth to fifth place in Top Fuel point standings, just two points out of fourth.
"We feel like we have a good handle on our race car and it's been running very consistently," said McClenathan, who joined Don Schumacher Racing for the 2008 season. "We had the second lowest elapsed time of the second round in Houston and would have beaten any other opponent except the one we ran, (eventual event winner) Antron Brown. I feel like we are just a round or two from finally breaking through for our first win of the season.
"We ran well in Houston and my lights (reaction times) weren't horrible and we walked out of there gaining three spots in the points," he added. "Being in fifth place, just a few points out of fourth, is pretty darned good at this point. Especially when you consider that (crew chief) Mike Green and the FRAM team have only made a handful of runs together. We needed the four runs during qualifying; it showed on Sunday that we had a good car. Had we come up against anybody but Antron during the second round we would have gone on to the semis and gained 20 more points."
With 17 years behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster, Cory Mac is the most tenured driver in the class and he recognizes the importance of teamwork.
"I think I have one of the best teams out there," McClenathan said with confidence. "Better than 95 percent of the teams. I think we have the right people in the right positions and they all do a fantastic job. I feel like I could step up a little on my own behalf with my reaction times on the starting line. When you're driving one of these things you have to be a machine, so I need to step up a little bit on my game. If you can win a few rounds on the starting line and pick up a few points it's fantastic."
A former Arizona resident, McClenathan will have plenty of friends and family in Las Vegas to cheer him on.
"We normally do very well in Las Vegas and we love to race there," he said. "It's Spring Break and I know the grandstands will be packed and every family will have their kids there. Being from Lake Havasu City originally, I know I'll have a lot of people from Havasu there cheering for us. It's just one of those places where everybody loves the nightlife and they love the race track. Bruton Smith built a great facility and I couldn't think of a better race to win than that one.
"I think once we win one we'll venture on and we'll win a lot of races this year. I look for that for my sponsors, FRAM, Honeywell, Bendix and Autolite. We look forward to making them happy. We love the support of Valvoline, Rockstar Energy Drink, Jegs and GMC. They all wanted a top-five car this year and they have one. I'm very excited right now. We have everything going for us this year and I'm very happy with the way things are going."