Cory McClenathan to race at Castrol Edge Winternationals

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As far as last minute inclusions into the 44th Castrol EDGE Winternationals Top Fuel field goes – they don’t come much bigger than NHRA superstar, Cory McClenathan – who will take to the wheel of a Rapisarda Racing machine for the event at Willowbank Raceway, June 10-13.

With 34 NHRA final round wins from 71 finals appearances to his credit, ‘Cory Mac’ is a stellar inclusion into the field.

The 47-year-old was approached with the opportunity by Australian Top Fuel stalwart Santo Rapisarda at the recent Topeka NHRA round, and it was an invitation he was quick to accept.

McClenathan finished third in the NHRA Top Fuel Championship in 2010 after winning three of his eight final round appearances and claiming top qualifier at five events. He was inexplicably released by Don Schumacher Racing at the completion of the season and thus far, has been unable to secure a full time ride for 2011.

Nevertheless, he heads to the Castrol EDGE Winternationals race-fit and ready to win – having deputised in the Dexter Tuttle-owned Top Fueller at the Topeka NHRA event May 20-22. He qualified eighth in the 16-car field, but was knocked out in the first round by Antron Brown when the Tuttle machine suffered a failure.

The Brownsburg, Indiana native last competed in Australia in 2007 at Sydney Dragway alongside racer-cum-ESPN pundit, Mike Dunn. His Top Fuel career – which began in 1991 – saw Cory Mac become the first driver in history to crack the 320mph barrier in 1997.

“I’m very excited to be heading back to Australia and to be racing with Santo Rapisarda,” McLenathan said. 

“The Castrol EDGE Winternationals is an event that everyone in America knows about and it’s one that a lot of guys would love to head down under for. In most cases, the schedules just don’t line up. 

“Fortunately – or unfortunately – whichever way you look at it – I’m available this year and can come down to race for Santo. When he asked me I was very quick to accept. 

“Santo is a racer at heart and lives and breathes Top Fuel – I’m sure he has Nitro pulsing through his veins. 

“It will be a change for me to come and race a full quarter mile (400m) again. In America, the NHRA switched to 1000 feet racing (304m) a few years ago. I hope that I don’t shut off early! 

“To come to the Castrol EDGE Winternationals and have the opportunity to win the event for Rapisarda Racing at a venue that is so close to the team’s heart would mean the world to me – and I cannot wait to see the Australian drag racing fans once again.” 

Willowbank Raceway holds sentimentality for the Rapisarda team – Santo’s son, Louie lost his life in a testing crash 21 years ago this July – and it’s the memory of Louie that drives the Rapisarda team’s activities both here in the ANDRA Pro Series and the NHRA Full Throttle Series, where Rapisarda Racing competes with Terry Sainty at the helm.

“Cory Mac is without doubt one of the world’s best Top Fuel racers and to have him in one of the Rapisarda Racing machines is amazing for me and amazing for the Castrol EDGE Winternationals,” Rapisarda said. 

“Cory is a true professional and his results speak for themselves. I had the idea of bringing him to Australia when I saw him at Topeka. He had to think for about 10 seconds before he accepted the offer to come and race one of my cars. 

“To win the Castrol EDGE Winternationals with Cory on board would be just phenomenal for our team. Willowbank means so much to us and this event means so much to us. 

“We hope everybody comes out to support the Castrol EDGE Winternationals and see Cory race – it is testament to the esteem Australian drag racing is held that he agreed to come down and race one of our cars.” 

McClenathan will line up in a two car Rapisarda Winternationals attack.

McClenathan’s inclusion among the 8,000 horsepower, nitro-munching brigade brings a real international flavour to the Castrol EDGE Winternationals at Willowbank – and steps the pressure up on the ANDRA Pro Series Top Fuel aspirants.

The Castrol EDGE Winternationals is an entertainment extravaganza held annually across the Queen’s Birthday weekend and is expected to provide an economic injection of millions of dollars into the South East Queensland region.

Children aged 13 and under are able to gain free admission to the Raceway during the Castrol EDGE Winternationals, and students with ID are able to gain discounted entry. One-day, two-day and full-event passes are all available – for more information, to purchase tickets and for schedules, please visit

Willowbank Raceway is Queensland’s premier drag racing facility, hosting year-round racing including four ANDRA Pro Series rounds per year including the Castrol EDGE Winternationals. For more information, please visit

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