Richmond: Cory McClenathan preview

McClenathan Looking for 400th Round Win, 30th Race Win at Torco Racing Fuels Nationals Cory McClenathan's next Top Fuel round win will be his 400th, a milestone reserved for NHRA racers in the sport for the long haul. McClenathan, 44, has...

McClenathan Looking for 400th Round Win, 30th Race Win at Torco Racing Fuels Nationals

Cory  McClenathan's next Top Fuel round win will be his 400th, a milestone
reserved  for NHRA racers in the sport for the long haul.
McClenathan,  44, has 29 victories in 50 final rounds in his 16th full season
on tour.   His last win came a year ago at Virginia Motorsports Park, site of
this  weekend's Torco Racing Fuels Nationals and, he hopes, his 400th round
win and  more.

"That is quite an accomplishment -- 400 rounds wins," said McClenathan, " but my FRAM Top Fuel team is focusing on winning this race again. By doing that, I will have 403 round wins by Sunday night. I believe we are capable of winning the race.

"Keith Adams, our new  crew chief, and Tony Shortall, the assistant crew
chief, have been working  together for a short time, but they found a combination
our car likes.  In  reality, if I had been on my game at the starting line at
our last race in  Dallas, I already would have 400 wins.  I let team down and
myself down  because I was left at the starting line in the second round.
"I was  very disappointed . . . we ran the quickest time (4.571 seconds) of
the round  and the fastest speed (328.06 mph) of the day and lost." The
difference came in  reaction times.  Whit Bazemore got the win with a 4.592-second,
327.74-mph  run and .091-second reaction to McClenathan's .138-second  reaction.
"We are working on getting a solid foundation for the  tune-up, and it's
gratifying to see that coming around.  We still want to  finish in the top 10 and
we have three more races to accomplish  it."
There is more incentive to qualify well here for the Lake  Havasu City,
Arizona-based driver.  This is the last event Top Fuel drivers  can earn points for
the special $100,000-to win Technicoat Shootout at Las  Vegas, Oct. 27.
Drivers have been earning qualifying points this season  and the top eight will
compete for the big prize.  McClenathan is seventh  with 2,465 points, 25 ahead
of David Grubnic and Hillary Will, who are tied for  eighth with 2,440.
"We need to qualify well so we are assured of a  spot in the Shootout," said
McClenathan.  "But we always want to qualify  well."

In 15 full seasons of competition, McClenathan has always finished in the top 10. He was second four times during that run and 10th just once, in 1991, his first season on tour. His current standing is 11th with 871 points, 35 (or two rounds) behind Grubnic.

"We missed the  Countdown to the Championship this year and that's one of
the reasons we are  working so hard to get ready for next year," he said. "We
don't mind playing the  spoiler role, either, if we race any of the drivers
still in the championship  race."

-credit: sgr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan , Hillary Will