Seattle: Cory McClenathan preview

Cory McClenathan Going for Round Wins at Sea Level in Seattle Cory McClenathan is happy to be in Seattle this weekend. The weather report calls for sunshine and hot weather. Wait, you say? That was the forecast in Denver last week,...

Cory McClenathan Going for Round Wins at Sea Level in Seattle

Cory McClenathan is happy to be in Seattle this weekend. The weather report calls for sunshine and hot weather.

Wait, you say? That was the forecast in Denver last week, too?

Yes, but Pacific Raceways in Kent is a sea level track. No more mile-high altitude racing in 100-degree-plus temperatures with a one-off combination necessary for running in the thin air.

"We are very happy to be back at sea level," said the veteran driver of the Carrier Boyz Racing FRAM Boost Top Fuel dragster. "We'll be back to a comfort zone for Wes Cerny (crew chief) and Tony Shortall (assistant crew chief) when it comes to racing combinations."

The team debuted a new chassis (from Brad Hadman's shop in nearby Puyallup) in Denver but they weren't able to find out much about it. "Nothing we do in Denver really applies to a sea level combination," McClenathan explained. "Our new chassis has a .065 pipe thickness -- the thickest we've ever had -- and Wes and Tony need to be able to check how it flexes and reacts to the tune-up. They should be able to tell on our first two qualifying sessions (Friday at 4:30 and 7 p.m.). We had trouble in the first 60 to 100 feet at Denver."

McClenathan, of Lake Havasu, Ariz., lost a tire-smoking, throttle-pedaling race to eventual Mile-High Nationals winner JR Todd when the car's engine expired before the finish line.

"That's behind us and now we can concentrate on winning some rounds and moving up in the POWERade Series standings," McClenathan said. "Conditions in Denver were horrendous. The track temperatures went as high as 147 degrees, the highest I've ever seen. And that just added to the usual problems we have up there.

"We've done well at Seattle in the past. I won there in 1997 and was runner-up three times (1993, 1995 and 1998)."

He currently ranks ninth in POWERade Series points with 611.

"I think we can still finish the season in the top five, but we need to start going rounds on Sunday. There are 10 races to go."

Two more qualifying runs are scheduled Saturday to set the field for Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations.

-cbr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Cory McClenathan