MCCLENATHAN HOPES HIS TOPEKA RECORD SERVES HIM WELL BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 19, 2010) - Cory McClenathan has an outstanding record at Heartland Park Topeka racing in the Top Fuel class of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. He's won twice...
MCCLENATHAN HOPES HIS TOPEKA RECORD SERVES HIM WELL
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 19, 2010) - Cory McClenathan has an outstanding record at Heartland Park Topeka racing in the Top Fuel class of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. He's won twice there, in 1994 and 1998, was runner-up in 1993, and low qualifier four times (1992, '93, '94 and '04). It's been a while, so he and the FRAM Top Fuel Dragster team are focused on extending that record to include a victory at this weekend's 22nd annual NHRA Summer Nationals.
Second in class rankings with two season titles, McClenathan is 112 markers behind leader Larry Dixon after eight of 23 season events, and 25 ahead of second-place Doug Kalitta. His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher is in fourth, just 35 points behind McClenathan. McClenathan's early exits in the last two events have bunched up the point standings and "Cory Mac" would like to return to the top of the class.
"We've let Tony and Doug get a little bit closer to us, but we also let Dixon get a couple of rounds farther than us again," said McClenathan, who led the standings earlier this year. "One good weekend and we can reel that back in. If you have a bad weekend then go to the final in the next race, that could change everything."
After Topeka, the series takes one weekend off before it kicks back in with seven races in eight weekends. "We have a whole lot of races in a row coming up," said McClenathan. "Anybody can get on a roll here right now. Dixon's car is running the best out of all the cars out there, and I still wouldn't count out any of our DSR teams (including Antron Brown, in fifth place), especially the FRAM dragster. It's been the one going down the track consistently, but on Sunday we've had a couple of faux pas, at least in the last couple of races. I'm sure the FRAM guys will rebound. Everybody is still very positive. And we're ready to go to Topeka, where I've had a lot of success.
"It's great to get right back in a race car just a few days later. Any track you go to where you've won has got to have something good going for you. We go into Topeka with the thought that we can win any race we go to, and Todd and Phil (Okuhara and Shuler, crew chiefs) do the best job they can to give me the best race car they can on Sunday."
McClenathan has met up against his DSR teammates in early rounds in each of the last three races, winning once and losing once against Schumacher, and bowing out to Brown one time. "We have to qualify away from our teammates a little bit, so we meet them down the road instead of in these first and second rounds," he said. "They're tough on us. But, that has certainly caused the points to bunch up.
"We had been making up some ground in between us and the few people behind us, but now they're a little bit closer. That's the way it's supposed to be. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it, and obviously for the fans it's pretty exciting to watch the points battle among five, even six, of the top teams.
"If we can just catch up to Dixon, that's the big thing. But, if we can stay anywhere in the top five right now, that would be good."