Cory McClenathan, Carrier Boyz Return to Winner's Circle; Victory at VMP Cory Mac's Fourth in Seven Years Virginia may be for lovers, but Cory McClenathan definitely loves Virginia Motorsports Park, and he emphasized it in winning...
Cory McClenathan, Carrier Boyz Return to Winner's Circle; Victory at VMP Cory Mac's Fourth in Seven Years
Virginia may be for lovers, but Cory McClenathan definitely loves Virginia Motorsports Park, and he emphasized it in winning fashion Sunday as the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals concluded on a crisp October day.
McClenathan ended a two-year winless drought with his fourth victory at the Dinwiddie track in NHRA's first POWERade Series race here since 2000. He also won NHRA's inaugural race in 1995 and took two more trips to the winner's circle in 1997 and 1998. He was runner-up in 1997. McClenathan and the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM Boost dragster opened eliminations with a win over David Grubnic (4.592 seconds at 311.63 mph to 4.902 at 293.98 mph). Two more round-wins later, he ended the competitive day in triumphant fashion. The orange and black dragster went straight down the track with nary a quiver in 4.644 seconds at 304.74 mph. Rod Fuller trailed with a traction-troubled 5.926 at 262.49, triggering a happy celebration from Mark and Andy Carrier and the crew.
"It has been so long since we've won," said McClenathan, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., who last won in May 2004 at Atlanta. It was the 29th victory in 49 final rounds for the veteran competitor. "We did not have the best car out there, but we had the smartest guys working on it," he continued. "Wes (Cerny, team crew chief), Tony (Shortall, assistant crew chief) and all the guys did a great job today. Wes made sure the car got down the race track, especially in the final round. We knew Fuller had a good car and we didn't want to make any mistakes.
"This is a huge morale booster for the team. They gained a lot of confidence and it was exciting to come back here and go four rounds and win another race. The win here also is special because Honeywell (parent company of FRAM) is headquartered in Richmond and we had a lot of company people who watched us win. And it felt good to win for Evan Knoll, who owns Torco Racing Fuels which is an associate sponsor on our car."
McClenathan said he felt a comfort zone at VMP "because I've done well here and I felt my confidence build after each round win." He ousted David Baca in the quarterfinals (4.723 at 300.33 to 11.993 at 76.15) and marched into the finale with a perfectly-executed throttle-pedaling, tire-smoking decision over series point leader Doug Kalitta in the semifinals (6.984 at 227.80 to 8.336 at 111.89).
The victory also put McClenathan back in the top 10 at No. 9. He has 970 points and is just nine points behind eighth-place Morgan Lucas with two more races remaining -- at Las Vegas, Oct. 27-29, and Pomona, Calif., Nov. 9-12.