ELKHART, Ind. – Hindsight is always 20-20 and “Monday morning quarterbacks” always have the winning combination. Drag racing, like other competitive ventures, lends itself to second guessing and doubt. Terry McMillen, team owner and driver of the Amalie Oil / Wolverine Boots and Apparel Top Fuel Dragster, was beginning to form a few doubts of his own when he entered the IHRA Amalie Oil Texas Nationals recently.
In his second season as Top Fuel team owner, he had hoped to improve on his five final round appearances and two wins from the previous year. While team stats proved that he was no further behind last season’s pace, it just didn’t feel right to McMillen. Seventh in points after two IHRA events is not what he had envisioned.
“We spent a lot of sleepless nights,” he confessed. “I guess we just expected more from ourselves early in the season.” Trying to convince McMillen that his performance over the past three seasons was more than respectable wasn’t welcomed. Fact is, McMillen’s Top Fuel career has seen the final round in 8 of 24 IHRA races for a 33% average.
Then again, there’s nothing like a final round appearance in your primary sponsor’s race to get the season kick-started and the team psyche back in tact.
McMillen was able to pilot the Doug Kuch tuned hotrod to the final round, setting low elapsed time of the first round and falling just short of his dream of winning an Amalie sponsored event. The runner-up finish put the Indiana based team back in third position in IHRA points.
“We struggled early, but we fought through it as a team,” McMillen said “The best news is I think we’ve figured out a pretty good hot weather tune-up for the summer.”