Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, powered by Torco Race Fuels, made their first final round appearance of the 2006 eMax Drag Racing series. While the final round showdown with Tom Carter didn’t result in a win for McMillen’s camp, it did tighten the race for the Alcohol Funny Car Championship. With less than 150 points separating the top four cars, McMillen thinks its anyone’s championship to win.
“We certainly would have loved to win that race in front of our home crowd, at our home track and at Evan’s (Knoll) race,” said McMillen. “But, it was a good day. It certainly makes everything a bit more exciting for the funny car teams.”
McMillen’s crew began the race with in a new engine, bringing many questions for crew chiefs “TV Tad” Heflick and “Skinny” Lidgard on the tune-up. “We knew we bolted in a strong bullet,” said Heflick. “We just didn’t get a chance to test it before getting here.” Friday’s first qualifying attempt resulted in tire shake and an aborted pass by McMillen. “We underestimated the track a little,” said Lidgard. “Plus we really weren’t pushing it real hard, we just wanted to get some heat in that new motor.”
McMillen and crew went into Saturday with enough data on the new engine to put down one of only two passes in the 5.80s during Saturday’s heat. The team would improve again during the evening qualifying session and take the #4 qualifying position into Sunday’s eliminations.
“For the third race in a row we liked our chances on Sunday,” said McMillen. To get to the finals McMillen would have to eliminate Larry Dobbs in the first round and Mark Thomas in the semi-finals. McMillen would have lane choice in the final round match up with Carter. While McMillen got his usual starting line advantage, the race was over in the first 330 feet.
“The car shook hard and I had to short shift it,” explained McMillen. “We were all pretty disappointed right after the race. I wonder what kind of deal we have to make with the racing gods to win one of these things. But, after we had a chance to take a breath and think about it, we knew it was a pretty good race for us overall to come back from the devastating engine failure in Milan. Plus, going to the finals means our partners will get some more television time.”
The next race for the Amalie Oil InstiGator will be the Skull Shine World Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, August 25-27, where McMillen will hope to tighten the points race a little more.
The InstiGator team partners with high quality and high performance companies like; Amalie Oil, eRaceFuels, Flatout Gaskets, NGK Spark Plugs, MSD, Fatheadz.com, GO Graphics, Powershield Coatings, Crane Cams, eMax and No Limit Custom Coach.