McClenathan: Finishing in Top 10 Top Priority at Auto Club Finals With his 15th season of NHRA Top Fuel racing one race from completion, Cory McClenathan paused while trying to capture the Mount Everest-like highs and mine-shaft lows that have...
McClenathan: Finishing in Top 10 Top Priority at Auto Club Finals
With his 15th season of NHRA Top Fuel racing one race from completion, Cory McClenathan paused while trying to capture the Mount Everest-like highs and mine-shaft lows that have accompanied the first 22 events. He summed it up with three words:
"Roller coaster ride."
But this was no amusement park ride that he, Mark and Andy Carrier and the entire FRAM Boost team took. "Let me put it this way. It was one season we won't forget . . . but one we'll all be glad to see end," said McClenathan. No repeats -- except in the victory column -- please.
The Auto Club Finals at Pomona Raceway, Nov. 9-12, drops the figurative curtain on 2006 competition and provides this team with another opportunity to win.
"Obviously our biggest high came at Richmond (Va., Oct. 15) when we won for the first time in 2 0x00bd years," McClenathan continued. "It was very exciting to get that win for Carrier Boyz Racing, FRAM, Honeywell -- in Honeywell's home area -- and all our sponsors, but it also was a long, hard battle for all the guys on our crew who worked so hard.
"The win happened at a good time, near the end of the year, and gave us all a big confidence boost. And we still have one more chance to get another win this weekend. It would be nice to put a good finish on this season -- go some rounds on Sunday and finish in the top 10. That's our mindset. We want make a statement about what to expect from Carrier Boyz Racing next year."
McClenathan is ninth in POWERade Series points with 1004, one ahead of Hillary Will and 15 in front of Morgan Lucas. McClenathan is 14-0 in top 10 finishes when he has run the full schedule. He only ran one event in 2001.
While the good vibes from the thrill of victory still linger, the memory of that Friday night in late April also remains. That's when McClenathan took the mother of "roller coaster rides" in Bristol, Tenn., when a broken frame rail folded the car into a V-shape near the finish line. The spectacular crash took the car high into the air before it landed and skidded to a stop.
McClenathan wasn't seriously injured and didn't miss a race, but his body had a lot of bruises for several weeks thereafter.
"Still being able to walk around today is a definite upside, too," he said.
As for next year, McClenathan says crew chief Wes Cerny and assistant crew chief Tony Shortall already have been testing new parts. "I think we'll go into the Winternationals (Feb. 8-11) with a good car that can go rounds on race day."
But the Finals come first, beginning with qualifying rounds at 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon and 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations get underway at 11 a.m. Sunday.