The harder you work, the luckier you get. So, goes the familiar saying that aligns a little bit of luck with a lot of hard work. After a disappointing DNQ in Rockingham, Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, powered by TORCO Race Fuels found a little luck during round one of qualifying in Grand Bend. The InstiGator broke a fuel line at the top end of the track, slowing McMillen to what would become the sixth qualifying spot in a rain shortened qualifying session. The car appeared to be on its best pass of the young eMax Drag Racing Series season.
“We were lucky when that fuel line broke at the top end,” explained McMillen. “We had a little damage, but nothing that we couldn’t work through. If it had broken earlier in the run we would have damaged a bunch of parts.”
In eliminations, McMillen would face Mark Thomas. McMillen jumped to an early lead and held off Thomas through much of the race. The InstiGator began to loose traction at the 1,000 foot mark and Thomas would edge McMillen to the line by just 0.083. Thomas would go on to win the race, claiming his second Iron Man in 3 races. “Mark and his team are really hot right now,” said McMillen. “There’s a pack of us right behind him, but we’re all going to have to step it up a bit to be able to reel him back in.”
While McMillen was disappointed about the loss, he found himself encouraged over all. “My crew chiefs have worked very hard to get this car back to a championship caliber,” said McMillen. The Amalie Oil InstiGator made four final round appearances in 2004 and looks to regain that momentum. “We’ve finally got the car back to a place where it will respond to our changes,” commented Tad “TV” Heflick, co-crew chief. Brent “Skinny” Lidgard, co-crew-chief added, “All of the testing and hours at the shop seem to be paying off.”
It what is shaping up to be a competitive race for the alcohol Funny Car Championship, seven teams, including the InstiGator, find themselves within 39 points of Mark Thomas who has won two of the first three events.
McMillen, who’s always appreciative of his partners like Amalie Oil, eRaceFuels, Flatout Gaskets, NGK Spark Plugs, MSD, Fatheadz.com, Powershield Coatings, Crane Cams, eMax, C. Trade Group and No Limit Custom Coach, he did make mention of another special IHRA partner.
“When Carl White and Stroud Safety stepped up to adopt and sponsor Alcohol Funny Car teams entry fees, I thought it was a pretty cool deal,” said McMillen. “But, when it actually happened to us, I realized just how special Carl and the folks at Stroud are for doing something like this. It really meant a lot to us.”
The next stop for the Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car is the Cars RV, Marine & Motorsports Rocky Mountain Nationals presented by TORCO Race Fuels June 23 â€“ 25, 2006.