JD2_0484PHOENIX: While the shift to a 6-disc clutch on the Parts Plus/Liquid MPG Top Fuel dragster has added to the challenge of a new team working together to compete against the world’s best—and fastest—driver Clay Millican is confident the commitment to the new setup will pay off in the long run in the 2014 Mello Yello Series.

“A lot of our problems this weekend in Phoenix still go back to this new 6-disc clutch,” says Millican, who tweeted “#learning” after a frustrating Q3 run on Saturday. “On the bright side, it’s good to know there’s still a lot of teams not running that [6-disc) clutch. It’s definitely the way to go in the future; eventually, everybody will have it. So in that sense I admire [crew chief] Jimmy Walsh and [team owner] Dexter Tuttle for being committed to it, so that we may gain an advantage down the stretch.

“In the meantime, there’s going to be some growing pains. But we came out here to Phoenix to qualify and compete—and we did just that.”

Despite achieving its fastest 60-ft time of the weekend, the Parts Plus/Liquid MPG dragster lost an E1 decision to defending Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon on Sunday after the car shook the tires on the quarter-mile shortly thereafter.

Still, Millican sees brighter days ahead as the team continues to learn from the 6-disc clutch setup on the car.

Most important: the advantage of a 6-disc clutch as opposed to a 5-disc setup will be evident as the season continues, he says.

“You won’t notice the biggest benefit to the 6-disc when it’s perfect conditions outside,” Millican explains.  “When everybody’s going fast, there’s no advantage. The benefit is when the track is tricky…when it’s a situation of tip-toeing down the racetrack—that’s when you’ll see the 6-disc clutch make a big advantage because the clutch application is so much smoother with an extra disc in there.“