Pomona, Calif. — Winning rounds and earning points towards the NHRA Championship is always the top priority for Terry McMillen. While he fell short of that goal in the season opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals he still believes that the weekend was a success for the AMALIE® Motor Oil INSTIGATOR Top Fuel Dragster.
McMillen was able to reset his career best elapsed time (3.806) after resetting it just a few months ago here in Pomona. McMillen was one of the five quickest cars in the third and fourth qualifying sessions according to National Dragster’s “Fast Fives”.
“We felt pretty confident going into Sunday eliminations,” McMillen said. “The car was responding to our moves and we felt like we could tweak just a little more and get that .79 we’ve been looking for. I wasn’t sure if a .79 would beat Torrence – but I knew it would be enough to keep him on his toes.”
When the tree turned green, McMillen was able to take a reaction time advantage of 0.014 seconds – enough to set up a potential photo finish if McMillen could run the elusive 3.79, But the number 2 cylinder would drop and pick back up. Then the number 1 cylinder – until it finally pushed the head gasket with a quick fire to end his chances – coasting to a 3.99 finish.
“We’re still not sure what exactly happened there,” McMillen said shortly after the race. “It started mixing up cylinders until it was an unhappy motor. We got a good base to work from. I still think this is our season. This is the year we take AMALIE Motor Oil, the University of Northwestern Ohio, All Star Performance and Genesis Tools into the NHRA Countdown.”