CONCORD, N.C. — Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil Top Fuel team headed into the NHRA 4 Wide Nationals full of hope and optimism on the heels of a career best performance just two weeks earlier at the Gator Nationals in Gainesville. While zMax Dragway provided his first round win last season, this trip to Charlotte wouldn’t be as kind.
“I was excited about four wide racing before I got here,” McMillen explained. “I just struggled all weekend trying to get comfortable staging the car. I just never felt comfortable in my own car.” For the first time in McMillen’s racing career he was timed out at the tree for not staging the car quickly enough, losing his third qualifying attempt. He also had uncharacteristic slow reaction times.
While a few teams adjusted well to the new conditions, most struggled along with McMillen to find the right staging procedures. Red light starts, timed out attempts and smoking tires seemed more than normal.