When Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, powered by Torco Racing Fuels, roll into the US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, it will be a familiar territory. McMillen, who considers US 131 Motorsports Park home for his team, has logged more laps on the Michigan quarter-mile in testing, match races and elimination rounds than any other track in recent years.
There are a few things in this world you can count on. The sun will rise in the east and set in the west. What goes up, must come down. Consistency has its virtues. For Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, consistency has returned to the team. Can they make it payoff?
Fresh off a semi-final showdown at the Rocky Mountain Nationals, Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator motor into Detroit, July 7-9, for race a little closer to home, the Suzuki Motor City Nationals. The Knoll Gas – TORCO Race Fuels powered race team jumped to fifth in points following the last event, about four competition rounds from second place.
Elkhart, Ind. – The third stop on the eMax Drag Racing series takes McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, powered by TORCO Race Fuels, north of the border this June 2-4. The annual event sponsored by Mopar in Grand Bend Ontario is always a highly contested race. Last season McMillen was able to knock off London, Ontario’s Rob Atchison before making a semi-final appearance.
Martin, Mich. – Speeds along the Michigan interstates just got a little faster. Legally? Probably not. But, that hasn’t stopped Jason and Stephanie Peterson, owners of the US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, from featuring the Amalie Oil InstiGator, powered by TORCO Racing Fuels, on billboards in preparation for the May 13th National City Thunder Nationals, presented by Pepsi.
Rockingham, N.C. – Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, powered by TORCO Race Fuels, head for the sand hills of North Carolina looking to restore a little magic at the Nicko’s NY Style Pizza Spring Nationals. “Rockingham had been good to us up until last season,” said McMillen. “Somehow we took the ‘Rock’ for granted.”
Elkhart, Ind. – March 16, 2006 – If a car could smile, the Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, powered by TORCO Racing Fuels, would show off a toothy grin as big as the state of Texas. Maybe the car is just a reflection of its driver. Terry McMillen, pilot of the InstiGator, smiles as easy as the paint scheme on his hot rod. “Texas feels a lot like home for this team,” said McMillen. “It’s the first race of the eMax Drag Racing season and it’s the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals, there’s plenty to be happy about.” It’s no wonder San Antonio feels like home for the Hoosier Thunder Motorsports team, the InstiGator has posted a semi-final and final round appearance in the past 2 season.
Mark Oswald Tunes Lukoil Top Fuel Dragster at Rockingham
Rockingham, NC – The rescheduled 10th Annual Udderly Smooth World Finals will mark the completion of the 2005 Hooters IHRA Drag Racing season. The frost on the pumpkin means those that live their life by the quarter mile will reminisce about hard fought summer battles against man, machine and mother nature. For Terry McMillen and his Hoosier Thunder Motorsports team, it marks the beginning of a new era. McMillen will use the World Finals to not only pilot his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, but also to make his driving debut in the Lukoil Top Fuel Dragster.
The InstiGator team is determined to get Terry an Iron Man this season before he gives up the seat in the Funny Car. “TV Tad” Heflick, co-crew chief commented, “Our team has worked very hard this season. Terry has put a lot of confidence in us and it’s time for us to deliver.” “Skinny” Lidgard, co-crew chief added, “This car has been producing a lot of horsepower all season, our half track incrementals are as fast as anyone’s, we can’t wait to put all of it together in Rockingham.” The Amalie Oil InstiGator team will be aiming for it’s second straight top 5 finish in IHRA competition.
“My phone has been ringing off the wall,” said McMillen. “Once the season is over, I’ll sit down and look at all the different potential drivers for this car. We’ve been able to create great brand identity with InstiGator for Amalie. Anything that we do will only enhance that identity and the relationship that we enjoy with Amalie.”
The rescheduled World Finals gave the Hoosier Thunder team more seat time in the newly debut Lukoil Top Fuel Dragster allowing McMillen the chance to complete his licensing and secure veteran tuner Mark Oswald for Rockingham. Oswald was the 1984 NHRA Funny Car champion and as a driver, he scored 20 national event wins – two in Top Fuel and 18 in Funny Car – in 41 final-round appearances.
“We’re very excited,” explained McMillen. “When this opportunity started coming together, Wendy Tysinger (Eastern Race Fuels) and Bo Kinney (LGI Digital) were right there to partner with us to put a fuel car together for Rockingham. The early commitment that they made was instrumental in putting this fuel team together.”
Shortly after Eastern Race Fuels and LGI Digital became associate sponsors on the car, Lukoil and XLR8 joined to assure McMillen and his team a short off-season. “It’s going to be a very short winter for sure,” added McMillen. “Heck, we love cars, it’s always a short winter for us anyway. Testing has already begun. We’re here to be competitive and win races.”
The Lukoil Top Fuel Dragster, energized by XLR8, is currently setting its 2006 racing schedule with all IHRA and at least 8 NHRA races being considered. “I believe we have the team and a car that can compete with anyone in NHRA or IHRA,” added McMillen. “I can’t wait to get started.”
Rockingham, NC – Life is often compared to a rollercoaster ride — plenty of ups and downs with excitement in the middle. If life is a rollercoaster, then the IHRA is the state fair with at least 12 opportunities to ride that rollercoaster.
The 12th and final ride of the season begins October 7-9 during the 14th Annual World Finals at Rockingham Dragway. The Amalie Oil InstiGator, powered by TORCO Racing Fuels, enters the race with 2 final, 2 semi final and 3 quarter final appearances for the season. “It’s been a good season and we’ve had our ups and downs,” commented team owner and driver Terry McMillen. “We’ve got some unfinished business. My team is hungry for that Iron Man.” Co-Crew Chief Tad “TV” Heflick added, “This will be our best chance to get our Iron Man.” Co-Crew Chief Brent “Skinny” Lidgard agreed, “It’s taken us awhile to find out what made the car happy – I can see the smile on that InstiGator’s face again.”
The Rockingham Dragway usually provides lots of speed for the fall event. In round 1 of qualifying McMillen set a personal best ET for the 2004 season (5.835 – in 2005 he reset his ET at 5.825). Last seasons fall event saw 23 funny car drivers fight for the right to race on Sunday. “It always seems that the competition is up for the finals,” said McMillen. “I’m certain there will be enough fun and excitement to go around when 8 cars try to make this field.”
“Any time that you set out to race in a season, you know that you’re going to have a few speed bumps,” said McMillen. “When that happens, it’s nice to know that someone has your back. Our backs were more than covered by the strong support of partners like Amalie Oil, eRaceFuels, Flatout Gaskets, NGK Spark Plugs, MSD, Performance Graphics, Powershield Coatings and Crane Cams. Our season is successful because of them.”
Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car will begin qualifying at the Rockingham Dragway on Friday night, October 7. Elimination rounds begin on Sunday.
For tickets of information about the event, visit the Rockingham Dragway.
Budds Creek, MD – Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, powered by TORCO Racing Fuels shook off the summer slump with a semi-final appearance and new personal best ET and MPH in the in Epping, NH, putting the team back on track with a chance to make up ground in the points standings.
The 14th Annual TORCO Racing Fuels President’s Cup Nationals, contested at the Maryland International Raceway September 23-25, sets the stage for stop #11 on the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing series. McMillen qualified the InstiGator in the #3 position in the 2004 event, making his push to a career best finish. “This year isn’t different,” explained McMillen. “Tension will be turned up a notch for everyone with only two races remaining. We have to continue on the success that we had in Epping if we’re going to make a run up the points ladder.”
The InstiGator team spent the week testing in Martin, MI during the Funny Car Nationals in preparation for the national event. Although the track was slick, McMillen was encouraged by the results. “Anytime that we can make hits on a track, we learn more about the car and our team; that’s a good thing.” Co-crew chief Tad “TV” Heflick had a different view. “We come out here to win. We give our driver the best car in the show – then he doesn’t deliver,” joked an upbeat Heflick. McMillen had one of the better performing cars that night and appeared set for a final round showdown with Mike Comella, before drawing a red light. “My guys have been having a lot of fun with that,” said McMillen. “That’s the third time in my career that I red lit. I don’t ‘guess’ at the tree. My reaction times are always consistent – check it out,” he argues in jest. “Hey, I would like to blame the timing equipment, but that would sound like an excuse. I’m just glad it’s out of my system before Maryland.”
McMillen (currently 5th in points)doesn’t think it’s to late to charge back in to the points race. “We’ve dug a little hole when we hit our summer slump, said McMillen. “Can we catch Robbie (Atchison) or (Jim) Sickles? That would be pretty tough at this point. Can we get ourselves back to being a top 3 team? If we do our job and get a little help, it’s certainly possible.”
McMillen will arrive in Maryland early again this week to continue his year long media blitz, doing radio shows and media day. “I enjoy doing these pre race events,” explains McMillen. It’s good for the IHRA and it’s good for our team and partners. We couldn’t do this if it weren’t for our great partners, like; Amalie Oil, eRaceFuels, Flatout Gaskets, NGK Spark Plugs, MSD, Performance Graphics, Powershield Coatings and Crane Cams.”