CHANDLER, Ariz. — Although he struggled through qualifying, McMillen felt confident about his Amalie Oil / UNOH / Motor State Distributing Top Fuel team’s chances for Sunday eliminations at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.
“We struggled through qualifying, but we were encouraged,” McMillen said. “The car had good early numbers it just kept spinning the tire on the big end. We just attributed it to the heat and felt like we could calm it down enough on Sunday to have a competitive car.”
Team Amalie would take the 16th spot for Sunday’s race and would face Larry Dixon in the first round. The race was over before it started as McMillen lunched his 8,000 horsepower car before the Christmas Tree was fully activated.
“There’s absolutely no excuse for that,” a dejected McMillen said after the race. “I still really don’t know what happened up there. Maybe I saw Larry’s prestage bulb flicker, I don’t know. I saw something flicker and I just left. There’s no excuse for it. I’m just sorry I let a lot of people down.”
“Richard (Hartman, Crew Chief) and my guys gave me a very good car on race day,” McMillen continued. “The car went right down the track. It didn’t drop any holes it was smooth. We don’t really know what the elapsed time would have been since I left before the tree was activated, but when we laid it over our other runs in looked like maybe a 3.98 or 4.00. Would it have beat Larry? We’ll never know, but it would have been a drag race.”