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Cory Mac Riding High Into Vegas

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, April 3 2009

cory_mcclenathan_headBy Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Things are shaping up nicely for NHRA Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan and his team this weekend.

Not only does he arrived at The Strip at Las Vegas riding the momentum of two straight final-round appearances, he arrives as the defending class winner at Vegas.

Yes, McClenathan likes the sound of that.

“The momentum we’ve gathered and the fact we’re the defending Las Vegas champions are big for us,” he said. “We debuted this new FRAM Tough Guard paint job on the car in Houston (last weekend) and we’re going into Vegas and the rest of the year with it. I would love to put it in the winner’s circle at The Strip two years in a row.”

McClenathan and crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler have demonstrated their ability to be serious contenders wherever they race this season.  In Houston, they lost in final-round to teammate Tony Schumacher by .0385 of a second on a holeshot.

The oddsmakers have given McClenathan a 7/1 shot at winning in Vegas.

“I think that’s very interesting,” he said. “The Strip is a great race track for us. We’ve done very well there. We won here last year with crew chief Mike Green. Now it’s time to win here with Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler.

“I’m going to work my butt off to make sure that happens,” McClenathan said. “These guys are jelling very well. You’d never have thought two races ago that these were all Funny Car guys working on a Top Fuel car.

“They’re adapting very well. They’ve had help from (Don Schumacher Racing team manager) Lee Beard, but Todd and Phil run this car. They run it the best and the safest way they can. They make me feel very at home, very comfortable in this race car. So, I’m excited.”

And then there is racing in Vegas. And, um, playing in Vegas. 

“Going to Vegas is always fun. Great night life, great during the day,” McClenathan said.

“Houston was a tricky weekend. We had one warm day, one very cool day, and great temperatures on Sunday. The fans got their money’s worth here. We want to give them the same in Vegas.”

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, April 3 2009
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