Clay Millican Continues Record Breaking Season

Go, Speed Racer!

Parts Plus Top Fuel Driver Clay Millican Continues Record-Breaking 2018 Season, Sets New Track Speed Standard En Route to Earning Sixth No. 1 Qualifier Spot at Norwalk

 

Fans who braved the intermittent showers on Saturday that continued to shorten qualifying sessions over the weekend during the NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park were rewarded with seeing track history made.


In what has been a record-breaking 2018 campaign in the NHRA Mello Series for the Parts Plus/Great Clips team, driver Clay Millican shattered Norwalk’s Top Fuel track-speed record Saturday afternoon during the lone round of qualifying due to rain.

Leah would advance to the semis where she would be upset by No. 12 qualifier Blake Alexander, who would go on to stun the racing world with a win over Terry McMillen, who had qualified 15th, in the finals to win his first Top Fuel Wally. Alexander is the 105th driver to win a Top Fuel Wally.
“I’d to thank all the Parts Plus members and manufacturer partners for their incredible support this season. I truly believe the best is yet to come for this Parts Plus team.”

 Lined up against Steve Torrence on Saturday, the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster launched hard off the line with flames shooting overheard and lighting up the dreary day. Millican kept the Parts Plus car hooked up all eight cylinders, blazing down the track at 3.750@332.67 mph. That number rocketed the Tennessee native team to the No. 1 qualifier spot and set the track speed record in the process. Millican's incremental times in his record-breaking run: 60 ft—0.846 sec.; 330 ft—2.137; and 660 ft—3.022@289.14 mph.

 The night before, in another rain-shortened session, Millican had cracked the top five in the Norwalk field with an impressive 3.800@329.91 mph. This allowed Stringer Performance crew chief David Grubnic to tinker with the setup in his never-ending quest to find more speed—judging from Millican’s Saturday run, it appears as if he found it.

 “As always, our team goal each and every week is to qualify in the top five,” Millican stated. “Once we did that, that allowed Grubby to get after it on that last run. We really weren’t expecting a lot different than that. When the car does what we want it to do, it makes everyone on the team very confident about our process.

 Millican received a conquering hero’s reception at the Parts Plus hospitality tent Saturday, where representatives from the Network’s manufacturer partners and Michigan-based Parts Plus WD ACI gathered along with their customers and their families. Moments before his record-breaking run, Millican had addressed the crowd and talked a little racing, a process the Parts Plus driver has described as being therapeutic before a big run.

 As the No. 1 qualifier for an amazing sixth time out of 12 events, Millican hoped the next immediate step would be his fourth career event title and the third of the season, as the Parts Plus Top Fuel driver would head into Sunday lined up against No. 16 qualifier Dom Lagana.

 In the bigger picture, Millican entered the 2018 Mello Yello Series with 10 No. 1 qualifiers in his entire Top Fuel career, a number he may just surpass this year alone if the Parts Plus/Great Clips team can keep this up.

 As a FOX racing analyst pointed out on Sunday, the No. 1 qualifier has never lost in the opening round at Norwalk. With crowds of supporters from two more Parts Plus WDs, Smyth Automotive Warehouse and Car Parts Warehouse cheering on their driver, Millican kept the streak alive. The Parts Plus Top Fuel dragster again delivered big high-end speed again to turn on the win light despite a solid run by Lagana in a losing effort. Officially, Millicans 3.759@332.26 mph was good enough to top Laganas 3.837@323.89 mph, his best time of the weekend.

 In what is developing into a rivalry, the NHRA Racing Gods once again pitted Millican against Leah Pritchett in Sundays second round of eliminations Sunday. Although the Parts Plus driver has outrun Pritchett in two final rounds to take home Wally trophies, Leah has eliminated Clay twice since her finals loss to the Parts Plus team in Chicago.

 In this most-anticipated rematch of two of the hottest drivers in Top Fuel, Pritchett seized the starting-lined advantage Sunday, and Millican was unable to chase her down in his Parts Plus dragster, despite another strong run. In the end, Pritchetts 3.788@327.74 mph—her quickest pass of the weekend—was enough to edge Millican’s 3.817@327.03 by 0.0337 seconds. 

 “Lining up against Leah and her team, we knew it was going to be a battle, and it was,” Millican says. “We didn’t quite get all we wanted out of it, but we made a solid if not spectacular run, which at least says something about our improvements as far as being more consistent. We still have plenty of work to do, but I know this team is going to continue putting me in position to do some great things as we get closer and closer to the Countdown—and then look out because that’s what we’re shooting for.