Las Vegas II: Cory McClenathan preview

MCLENATHAN SEEKS LAS VEGAS SEASON SWEEP BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 27, 2008) -- Although FRAM Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan is no longer in the running to capture his first NHRA championship this season in his 17 years of trying, he hopes to ease...

MCLENATHAN SEEKS LAS VEGAS SEASON SWEEP

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 27, 2008) -- Although FRAM Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan is no longer in the running to capture his first NHRA championship this season in his 17 years of trying, he hopes to ease some of the pain by winning the Las Vegas NHRA Nationals this weekend. A victory would give him and the FRAM team a clean sweep of both 2008 events held at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Two national events remain in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series: Las Vegas this weekend and Pomona, Calif., Nov. 13-16.

McClenathan's early-season triumph over Antron Brown at The Strip in April moved the popular driver into legitimate contention for the Top Fuel crown. He entered the six-race Countdown to 1 playoffs following the U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend in No. 4 and moved as high as No. 2 before a first-round defeat coupled with points leader (and Don Schumacher Racing teammate) Tony Schumacher's victory at the last event in Richmond, Va., ended his dream of a Top Fuel title after falling back to fourth place.

"This Countdown has been an up-and-down battle this year," said McClenathan, who has 30 career Top Fuel victories. "One weekend we have a good race and move up a spot and I think we have a shot at Tony and then the next weekend we lose that shot and walk away in fourth place. One minute it's mounting up to something that might be spectacular and the next minute you feel like you need to crawl out of a mine hole and get yourself back and pray.

"Our biggest goal is to find our way back into second place," added McClenathan, who is just 37 points short of that position. "We're only a couple of round wins out (20 points per round) and it's still attainable and I think we have the second-best race car out there. We just have to make those rounds up. But the problem is that there are a lot of very good cars around us. A good qualifying position will be important. Even though it's only a matter of a few points, those are very precious right now. I also think luck is going to play into it a little bit.

"If we can repeat our performance from earlier in the season, that would be the ultimate. To walk out of Vegas with another win and to be sitting in second place going into the last race in Pomona would be great. We reached the final at both races earlier in the season (Pomona and Vegas), so I feel pretty good confidence-wise, but anything can happen in drag racing. I'd sure like to finish right behind my DSR teammate this year.

"You don't want to show your hand too much and if I could just cruise in under the radar, so to speak, and qualify well and walk our way into the semifinals or final in Vegas, I think we'd be doing our job."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan