By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
One day after Cory McClenathan announced his plan for his retirement for Top Fuel Dragster after the last three races, a former competitor, who has raced against Cory Mac, has announced his plans to come back to the category. Doug Foley is in the process of renewing his Top Fuel license, according to NHRA.com.
Foley has partnered with Tim Lewis and the team will be competing at the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals. However, at that event, Todd Paton will fill-in as the pilot at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.
Following the event, Foley will be back in a Top Fuel Dragster as he makes licensing attempts during Monday testing.
“We’re excited to be back out there,” said Foley, who last drove a Top Fuel dragster in 2011. “It’s honestly not an opportunity we ever really thought about. It’s not like we sat there for 10 years waiting to go Top Fuel racing again. It was just something that we discussed early this year, and we’ve worked since then to get a program together. We’ve had a lot of great fans through the years and we’re excited to see them starting in Charlotte and next season.
“Really, I think there were two reasons why we decided to go Top Fuel racing. The main reason is we were scheduled for 16 races [in Top Alcohol Dragster] and there was no way work was going to allow me to go to 16 races. My professional life was just pretty busy. Secondly, the opportunity came along for me to discuss going back to Top Fuel racing in February, so we discussed it for a couple months and made the decision in May that we’re going to do it.”
The plan for the team is compete in the North Carolina event, which will be next on the NHRA schedule, and then focus on the 2020 season. The operation is planning to compete on a partial schedule during the 2020 season.
The Top Alcohol Dragster, which Foley competed in over the last two seasons, will be converted into a Top Fuel Dragster by Scott Gaddy. Richard Hartman, who is the crew chief for Tim Wilkerson’s Funny Car, will help making updates to the chassis to make its up to NHRA specs.
“Tim and I really appreciate Scott’s effort over the last several months,” Foley said. “He’s spent countless hours in the shop and we wouldn’t be ready if it weren’t for the time and effort he’s invested.”
“Knowing that we’re 15 miles from the track, it just made a lot of sense to find a way to enter this race. It’s not that easy to get a quality track surface. For us, getting some runs on the car and shaking everything down was more important than anything. We can get some data and figure out the car during the weekend. After my runs we’ll have half a dozen runs or more on the car. That will allow us to build towards next year.”