Englishtown, NJ (June 11, 2017) – The heat was on at the 2017 NHRA Summernationals with a temperature that reached 96 degrees. Clay Millican and the Parts Plus/Great Clips/University of Northwestern Ohio Top Fuel crew maintained a consistent running dragster with a race day track temperature that soared to 131 degrees.
Millican came into race day qualified eighth with an elapsed time of 3.786 at 314.53 mph. Because only 14 Top Fuel drivers were entered in this race, the ladder was different from normal and threw Millican for a loop.
“No matter what we do it seems like we race Terry (McMillen) first round. We were not qualified eight and nine, but due to the short entry list the pairings change. I honestly did not know we were racing each other until I was given the ladder last night. I thought we raced Leah Pritchett because we were eight and nine,” Millican said.
In the Round One match up Millican defeated McMillen 3.806/314.31 to 3.926/307.02. Millican knew he won the race, not be seeing the win lights, but what he could hear.
“I heard Terry early in the run and towards the end. To be honest, I thought I was ahead just because the sound changes and you can hear it in the car, you can’t see it,” Millican explained. “It seemed like a really quick tree and I was like ‘Oh My God I was terrible on the tree.’ But the car made a good run, but it put a hole out. I felt it put a hole out. And we made a really good run; we were third quickest of the round.”
In Round Two Millican came up against Steve Torrence. Millican had lane choice and picked the right lane. Shortly into the run, Millican smoked the tires and Torrence took the win: 3.827/323.27 to 7.241/84.20.
“This was an occasion where I don’t think lane choice made any difference. I had no concerns at all that the car was going to spin the tires. I just didn’t because after the first run on Friday, we went right down the race track every time,” Millican said. “Probably what got us was just the simple low number of runs that we have on this chassis. I think that’s all it was. The changes that Grubby (Crew Chief David Grubnic) made to the previous car are not applying to this car because they work differently.”
Despite the second round loss, Millican is pumped moving on to the next two races in the Eastern Swing.
“This new race car is awesome. It’s looking like in the hot weather we’re going to be in much better shape than we were with the other car,” Millican said. “We know the chassis really looks good and it’s going to be good in the heat. And now Grubby can start focusing on little changes in the tune up.”
Next up for Stringer Performance is the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee June 16 – 18.