CORY MCCLENATHAN: KUDOS TO NHRA AND NEW FRAM TEAM BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 17, 2009) - Despite the challenges of starting off a fresh NHRA season with different tuners, a whole-new crew and surviving long rain delays in the opening round of the...
CORY MCCLENATHAN: KUDOS TO NHRA AND NEW FRAM TEAM
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 17, 2009) - Despite the challenges of starting off a fresh NHRA season with different tuners, a whole-new crew and surviving long rain delays in the opening round of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series in Pomona, Calif., Cory McClenathan was quick to give kudos to his FRAM Top Fuel team and sanctioning group NHRA following his quarterfinal finish last Tuesday.
As the FRAM team prepared for this weekend's NHRA Arizona Nationals, the second national event of the year, Pomona memories were still on the mind of McClenathan, who has two national-event wins at Firebird International Raceway (1994 and 1998).
"The rain in Pomona just seemed to kind of confuse and stagger everybody," he said. "Todd and Phil (crew chiefs Okuhara and Shuler) and all the FRAM guys held their composure and did a great job considering it was their first time at a race on a Top Fuel dragster. They kept the FRAM dragster going down the track.
"We had to pedal it first round (against Shawn Langdon), but it was still doing much better than basically all but a few cars out there. Todd and Phil did everything they were supposed to do. We lost to Doug Kalitta in the quarterfinal, but it was great to see him win the event, after almost a two-year dry spell. Not only did he win, his guys did a great job tuning the car."
As for the rain delays, "I think a lot of people don't realize that all the people at ESPN2 went through just as much as we did," said McClenathan, who is No. 5 in the point standings, tied with his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher. "And I can't say enough about the NHRA Safety Safari. Those guys and girls worked their tails off to try to get the track dry umpteen times. I think a lot of those people, including (starter) Rick Stewart and the whole gang, often go without getting a 'Thank You,' without a 'Hey, great job.'
"For us it was a whole bunch of time sitting around, but those Safety Safari guys/gals were working the whole time this was going on, while we were back in the pits waiting to see what was going to happen.”
This weekend's weather in the Phoenix area is predicted to be dry. "I hope we get four good qualifying passes in at Firebird, and hopefully, for the FRAM dragster, four passes on Sunday. I'm excited to get there," said McClenathan.
"We need to qualify well on Friday, we need to try to go for it a little bit on Saturday to see if we can better our position and see where we can push the track and where we can't, and just get a good tune-up for Sunday."
McClenathan also has one runner-up finish at Firebird, in 1996, and was low qualifier two times (1993 and 1994).