LAS VEGAS (April 2, 2017) – Terry McMillen and his AMALIEⓇ Motor Oil XTERMIGATORⓇ Top Fuel team defeated Troy Coughlin, Jr. in the opening round of the Denso Sparkplugs NHRA Nationals to move up to ninth in points after four races. McMillen fell to Tony Schumacher in a close round two match up.
McMillen pedaled his hotrod to catch Counghlin, Jr. at the stripe in a narrow .009 second margin of victory. Crew Chief Rob Wendland told NHRA, “Terry got that one for us. He did a great job catching it and staying in it. Sure proud of him.” The pedal job was something veteran driver McMillen was anticipating. “I could tell by the way that we were going through the clutch early that it may need a quick slap of the pedal, so I was kind of waiting for it. I knew we were far enough down the track and we were close enough that if Troy had any issues we would be there. I’m certainly glad that it worked out for us.”
McMillen and Wendland took a gamble coming into Vegas by introducing a new and untested clutch system with consultation from Johnny West of Wesco. Wendland explained to NHRA, “I already have a 3.70 car. I want a 3.60 car.”
“We saw a lot of improvements on each run,” McMillen explained. “We thought about switching back to the system that had us running like a bracket 3.70s car. But we stuck with it and qualified with a decent 3.82. This is an investment in our future that we think is going to pay like a loose slot machine.”
McMillen posted the fastest time in the right lane for round one and round two and while frustrated, McMillen remained encouraged. “We’re getting a little tired of being the fastest loser,” McMillen explained. “We’re working on qualifying a little better and having more fun on Sunday. We used to worry about who we lined up next to on race day. I think the tables are starting to turn. People can’t take us for granted any longer.”