PHOENIX, Ariz. – In a career best qualifying effort, Terry McMillen positioned his Amalie Oil Top Fuel dragster in the ninth spot for the NHRA Arizona Nationals. Although his weekend ended early with a first round loss to Steve Torrence, McMillen remains encouraged by his teams improvement.
“That was our ninth pass of the year without any preseason testing,” McMillen said. “That’s no excuse. We’ll come up with a race day tune up. My guys are to good not to.”
The second of 23 NHRA Full Throttle races showed dramatic improvement for the Elkhart Indiana based team, which posted career best 60ft elapsed times, the team’s second best elapsed time (3.896) and a career best qualifying effort (9th).
“We’ve still got a few weight and balance issues to work on,” McMillen added. “It looks good on TV and in pictures when we hike the front wheels 3 feet in the air, but it doesn’t do much for my opportunity to steer.” McMillen’s Friday night qualifying effort appeared to be in line for a mid 3.80 pass before he aborted just 2.85 seconds into the run. He still clocked 3.11 seconds at half track.
“Richard Hartman and my guys are doing a great job,” McMillen added. “The car wants to run – and it wants to run really fast. Anytime you hit the wheelie bar at half track you know the car wants to go. Once we get all four wheels on the ground, we’re going to run with anyone.”
The next stop for McMillen on the NHRA circuit will be a bit of a homecoming. “Amalie is based in Tampa and it’s just a short ride to the Gatornationals,” said McMillen. “We’ve got a couple of weeks to fine tune our setup. We’d like to make a big splash down in Gainesville – after all our car is fashioned after a gator.”
The 41st annual NHRA Gatornationals takes place at the Gainesville Raceway, March 12-14, For more information visit NHRA.com
photo by Randy Dodgion