VEGAS '08 CHAMP MCCLENATHAN SENDS MESSAGE, AIMS TO REPEAT LAS VEGAS (April 1, 2009) - The 2008 Las Vegas 1 Top Fuel champion Cory McClenathan is sending a message after reaching his second straight final round last Sunday in Houston: he and the...
VEGAS '08 CHAMP MCCLENATHAN SENDS MESSAGE, AIMS TO REPEAT
LAS VEGAS (April 1, 2009) - The 2008 Las Vegas 1 Top Fuel champion Cory McClenathan is sending a message after reaching his second straight final round last Sunday in Houston: he and the FRAM Tough Guard Top Fuel team are geared up for a hearty battle among all comers as they aim to repeat at this weekend's NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas en route to claiming McClenathan's first Top Fuel championship.
He and crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler have demonstrated their ability to be serious contenders in this popular category, and losing the final round to their teammate Tony Schumacher in Houston by a mere .0385 of a second on a holeshot has only inspired them to work harder, if that's possible, towards achieving these goals.
"The momentum we've gathered and the fact we're the defending Las Vegas champions are big for us," said McClenathan. "We debuted this new FRAM Tough Guard paint job on the car in Houston and we're going into Vegas and the rest of the year with it. I would love to put it in the winner's circle at The Strip two years in a row."
The oddsmakers have given McClenathan 7/1 odds that he will win this weekend. "I think that is very interesting," he said. "The Strip is a great race track for us. We've done very well there. We won here last year with crew chief Mike Green. Now it's time to win here with (crew chiefs) Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler.
"I'm going to work my butt off to make sure that happens," said McClenathan, who also was runner-up here in 2002. "These guys are jelling very well. You'd never have thought two races ago that these were all Funny Car guys working on a Top Fuel car.
"They're adapting very well. They've had help from (DSR team manager) Lee Beard, but Todd and Phil run this car. They run it the best and the safest way they can. They make me feel very at home, very comfortable in this race car. So, I'm excited.
"Going to Vegas is always fun. Great night life, great during the day. The team is staying at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino, where we'll sign autographs on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. We're expecting a good weekend all the way around.
"Houston was a tricky weekend. We had one warm day, one very cool day, and great temperatures on Sunday. The fans got their money's worth here. We want to give them the same in Vegas."