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Article Date: 27 May 2011

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.

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.

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 www.willowbankraceway.com.au

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 www.willowbankraceway.com.au

CORY McClENATHAN – 34 time NHRA Top Fuel event winner:
“I’m very excited to be heading back to Australia and to be racing with Santo Rapisarda,” McClenathan 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.”

“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.”

STEVE BETTES – Willowbank Raceway Managing Director:
“To have Cory coming out to take on Willowbank Raceway and the Australian Top Fuel team during the Castrol EDGE Winternationals is just amazing,” said Bettes.

“It is very exciting for all of us here at the track, and sensational for the race fans, as we prepare for the largest drag racing event outside of the US, and we couldn’t be happier to have Cory on the entry list!”


Feature racing: Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Top Alcohol, Pro Stock, Top Bike, Pro Stock Motorcycle

Also racing from: Lifestyle Floorcoverings Competition, Lifestyle Floorcoverings Super Stock, Super Compact, Competition Bike, Allstar Batteries Supercharged Outlaws, Knijff Earthmoving Modified, Powercruise Super Sedan, Speed Elec/Prime Signs Super Street, Modified Bike, Donnelly Blasting Services Junior Dragster and Neptunes Pool Care Super Gas.

(Approximate and subject to change – visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au
for updates)
Friday June 10
On-track qualifying action from 9.00am – approximately 7.30pm
Pro Stock Qualifying at 5.00pm

Saturday June 11
On-track action from 8.00am – approximately 8.00pm
ANDRA Pro Series Qualifying from 12.00pm – approximately 5.30pm

Sunday June 12
On-track action from 8.30am – approximately 6.30pm
ANDRA Pro Series Qualifying from 12 noon – approximately 5.30pm

Monday June 13
On-track action from 8.30am – approximately 4.30pm
Opening Ceremonies – 10.30am
ANDRA Pro Series racing at 11.00am, 1.15pm and all finals from 2.45pm

Ticketing – tickets available for purchase from www.willowbankraceway.com.au

NB: General Admission = access to the spectator mound and paddock area
NB: Multi-day passes are available for pre-purchase through the Willowbank Raceway website only, no at-gate purchase of multi-day passes will be available

General Admission Tickets:

One-day passes:
Friday June 10 – Adult General Admission- $20.00
Friday June 10 – Student/Concession General Admission (Must show ID) - $20.00
Saturday June 11 – Adult General Admission - $50.00
Saturday June 11 – Student/Concession General Admission (Must show ID) - $42.00
Sunday June 12 – Adult General Admission - $50.00
Sunday June 12 – Student/Concession General Admission (Must show ID) - $42.00
Monday June 12 – Adult General Admission - $50.00
Monday June 12 – Student/Concession General Admission (Must show ID) - $42.00

Two-day General admission pass (available in Saturday/Sunday or Sunday/Monday format):
Adult - $90.00
Student/Concession (must show ID) - $75.00

Three-day General admission pass, including complimentary Friday General Admission:
Adult - $140.00
Student/Concession (must show ID) - $110.00

Reserved seating (price DOES NOT include admission), available for Saturday, Sunday and Monday:
Startline Club - $16.00 per day
Grandstand - $12.00 per day

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