NORWALK, OH – June 19, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – No matter what happened on Sunday in his ninth career Top Fuel final round, Clay Millican would have gone to Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, the site of this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, with a smile on his face.
But after grabbing his first NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series victory, fans can expect that grin to be a little bit wider this weekend. Millican knocked off Leah Pritchett in the final round at Bristol in his 10,000-horsepower Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster, sewing up a win that had been a long time coming. One of the most well-liked competitors in the sport, Millican received hearty congratulations after the victory and now hopes to build on that heading to Norwalk.
“I never questioned myself,” Millican said. “All I did was I just started working harder. I’ve been working harder right now than I’ve ever worked. Age doesn’t have a factor on driving a Top Fuel car, but these kids are awesome out here, and when it’s hot and sweaty I want to be able to sit in that car and it not bother me. Guess what, I sat in that car and it didn’t bother me.”
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including final eliminations coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 25. It is the 12th of 24 events in 2017 and finishes off a stretch of four straight races.
As the year hits the halfway mark, Millican couldn’t be more pleased of what his Stringer Performance team has accomplished. They sit seventh in points after the victory – but are just 39 points out of fifth – and Millican is thrilled with the atmosphere within a team that has shown significant improvement through the first 11 races of the 2017 season.
“I love what I do, whether I ever won one of these or not,” Millican said. “There’s no such thing as a coincidence. This was supposed to happen, and when the time was right this was going to happen. When it’s your day, it’s going to happen. It took a family and (team owner) Doug (Stringer) put together a heck of a group and a heck of a family.”
The victory and the emotional celebration that followed is something Millican will always remember, but he’ll also use it to for even more motivation heading to Norwalk, a facility and race that has long been near the top of the veteran’s favorites. Getting a second straight victory against the Top Fuel elite won’t be easy, as Millican will duke it out with the likes of points leader Steve Torrence, back-to-back world champ Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force.
But Millican saw something special from his team and crew chief David Grubnic in Bristol, and he knows that it wasn’t just a one-time thing, either.
“I saw a guy that was smiling some (Sunday) and I think a lot of that stems from when we swapped chassis,” Millican said. “He felt like he kind of got a handle on something that was giving him problems the last few races. We were going rounds, but the previous chassis would throw him a curveball. He just had an easiness about him all weekend. When that dude’s smiling, the results show. The car was doing what he wanted it to do and that’s what a crew chief wants.”
Defending event winner Capps has been dominant since winning his first Funny Car world championship. He has five victories in 2017, including last weekend in Bristol.
Line started 2017 with a win, but he’s chasing points leader Bo Butner and rookie Tanner Gray, who both have two wins this season. In all, seven drivers have won a race in Pro Stock in 2017.
Krawiec leads the Pro Stock Motorcycle points after a season-opening win, but L.E. Tonglet has back-to-back wins. Other stars include Andrew Hines and reigning world champ Jerry Savoie.
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes its eighth of 12 stops in the 2017 season in Norwalk. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Douthit Motorsports eye lighting Black Pearl Jet Funny Car vs. Pro Jet Motorsports Al Z’s Hot Blade Jet Dragster. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. on Friday, June 23 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 24, at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 25.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park at (419) 668-5555. Tickets also are available online at www.summitmotorsportspark.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association