Phoenix: Cory McClenathan preview

Cory Mac and the FRAM AirHog dragster seek to rebound at Phoenix CHANDLER, Ariz. (February 21, 2005) -- With the quickest field in NHRA history, the elapsed times and speeds at the recently completed NHRA Winternationals caught Cory...

Cory Mac and the FRAM AirHog dragster seek to rebound at Phoenix

CHANDLER, Ariz. (February 21, 2005) -- With the quickest field in NHRA history, the elapsed times and speeds at the recently completed NHRA Winternationals caught Cory McClenathan, driver of the FRAM AirHog Top Fuel dragster, and the Carrier Boyz Racing team by surprise.

"I definitely was surprised by the times and speeds at Pomona but feel there were two reasons for them," said McClenathan. "First was the good air we had that contributed to all teams running good. But it was more than that.

"The biggest factor was the new concrete. It really came around. I was impressed with the job NHRA did in putting down the 75-foot of concrete and that the Safety Safari did in preparing the lanes, especially after the rains on Thursday. It was mind boggling to run a 4.52 and qualify only 11th."

This weekend, McClenathan, fifth on the all-time Top Fuel career win list with 28, seeks to put the FRAM AirHog dragster back in the hunt for POWERade points at the 21st annual NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals being held at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., just a stone's throw from Phoenix.

"We have a good base from our preseason testing in Phoenix that will help us get this FRAM AirHog back on track," continued McClenathan. "We're going to have to be able to stand on the gas a little bit harder in the first 60- to 100-feet. Todd Smith (crew chief) is working really hard to get us off the line quicker and appears to have found a solution. Everybody knows if you can run quicker earlier, it definitely improves your elapsed times.

"If we run well in the first 60- to 100-feet and then run as good in the other parts of the track, like we did in Pomona, then we should be able to run with the top cars or a lot closer to them. Still our overriding goal is to strive for consistency. We believe this will win rounds for us race in and race out."

Entering this event, the Lake Havasu City, Ariz., driver is tied for No. 11 in the 2005 point chase, just 26 points out of the top five. McClenathan has won this event twice (1994 and 1998) and advanced to the semifinals last year.

On Wednesday, February 23, McClenathan will be signing autographs, along with other NHRA drivers, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the prerace NHRA POWERade Fan Festival at Arizona Mills. The event will also feature the CSK Pit Crew Challenge (3-3:30 p.m.) and the POWERade Funny Car Simulator (3:30-5:30 p.m.). Admission to the NHRA POWERade Fan Festival is free.

Qualifying for Cory Mac and the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM AirHog dragster begins with two nitro session on Friday scheduled for 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. and concludes with two additional sessions on Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Cory Mac begins his quest for the CSK Nationals Top Fuel title on Sunday with eliminations for all classes beginning at 11 a.m. All times are local Phoenix time (MT) and subject to change at anytime.

Qualifying highlights for the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday (Feb. 26) from 9-11 p.m. ESPN2 will also air same-day television coverage of eliminations from 7 until 10 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 27). Television times are Eastern Time (ET) and subject to change at anytime. Check local listings.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan , Cory Mac , Todd Smith