Las Vegas II: Cory McClenathan preview

Winning on McClenathan's mind at Vegas Busy schedule, Budweiser Shootout, ACDelco Nationals on tap LAS VEGAS (October 18, 2005) -- With a new crew chief, Wes Cerny, and busy schedule for this weekend's Fifth annual NHRA ...

Winning on McClenathan's mind at Vegas
Busy schedule, Budweiser Shootout, ACDelco Nationals on tap

LAS VEGAS (October 18, 2005) -- With a new crew chief, Wes Cerny, and busy schedule for this weekend's Fifth annual NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Cory McClenathan is still searching for that elusive first win of the 2005 POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule.

Since he began racing a Top Fuel dragster in 1991, McClenathan, who now pilots the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM AirHog dragster, has only gone three seasons without recording at least one win -- 1991, 1993, 2001 (a year he competed in only one event). The 1991 and 2001 seasons are the only years that he didn't advance to at least one final round. Thus far in 2005 he has advanced to one final, finishing runner-up to Tony Schumacher at Houston.

For his career, McClenathan has 28 wins in 47 final rounds. His 28 career Top Fuel wins places him in a tie for fifth among all Top Fuel drivers in career wins and he currently stands tied for second among active Top Fuel drivers in career wins.

"Getting out of that car at the end of the track after a win is the most awesome feeling," said McClenathan. "There is nothing better than a win.

"I've been fortunate.  Early in my career, I had the right people
surrounding me.  It allowed me to go out and win five or six races a
season.  Looking back at those times, then looking at how we are now
fighting to win one race in one season, it's disappointing.  I guess the
early years spoiled me.  But the fact is I want to win.  I like winning.

"But don't get me wrong. While I want to win every trip down the track, you can't. This team is building and making strides in all areas of our operation. Try not to forget that we are a very young team with young, though motorsport savvy, owners and we are trying to make everything mesh together. Then couple that with the fact that we are now faced with a crew chief change. These things will play a part in getting a win over the last two races of the season.

"If we can just go out and qualify well and go some rounds, I'd be happy. Winning a race this season would be like icing on the cake. I'd be happier for the crew, our owners and our sponsors than for myself. But I still want to experience that feeling of jumping out of the car, throwing my arms in the air and getting congratulations from everybody. It's been a while since I felt that. That would be awesome!"

On Wednesday (October 19), McClenathan will be playing poker for charity when he joins other NHRA drivers for the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities' Second Annual Speedway Children's Charities Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament at The Club showroom, inside The Cannery Hotel and Casino (2121 East Craig Road, at the intersection of Craig Rd. and Losee Rd.).

Thursday (October 20) will find McClenathan at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (4455 Paradise Rd., between Flamingo Rd. and Tropicana Ave.) for the NHRA Fan Fest/Autograph Session and the Budweiser Shootout Draw Party.

The NHRA Fan Fest, which is open free to the public, will include such activities and exhibits as the POWERade Simulator, the AC Delco Extreme Garage, show cars, live entertainment, radio remotes and a driver autograph session. The NHRA Fan fest will be held from noon until 7 p.m., with the driver autograph session from 5-6:30 p.m.

The Budweiser Shootout Draw Party, hosted by NHRA celebrity Bob Fry and Budweiser personality Katie Daryl, will be held in The Joint, inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, from 7-9 p.m.

The 21st annual Budweiser Shootout is a special race-within-a-race for Top Fuel drivers being held Saturday during this weekend's NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. Top Fuel drivers have been earning points since last year's Las Vegas fall race based on how they qualify at each race. Eight drivers qualify for the Shootout.

Only the top seven point earners were guaranteed a position and of the seven only the No. 1 qualifier was guaranteed that position. The eighth and final position will be determined during the Budweiser Shootout Draw Party by random drawing among the drivers that qualified in positions 8-15. The driver selected No. 8 will be automatically slotted against the No. 1 qualifier, Tony Schumacher.

McClenathan, who qualified No. 6, and the other five drivers in positions 2-7 will be placed on the qualifying ladder by another random drawing, also during the Budweiser Shootout Draw Party.

"The Bud Shootout always means a lot," reflected McClenathan. "I've been in several Budweiser Shootout finals before, but that's been a few years back. Just trying to go a couple rounds now are tough. Last year, I lost on a holeshot to Brandon Bernstein in the first round. This year we need to step it up a bit and see if we can't go some rounds.

"It sure would be nice if we could take home a lot of Budweiser's money."

The schedule for the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday is as follows: Introduction of drivers (1 p.m.); Round 1 (1:30 P.M.); Round 2 -- Semifinals (3:15 p.m.); and Round 3 -- Finals (4:50 p.m.).


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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Brandon Bernstein