MILLICAN GRABS TOP FUEL POLE AT SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NATS
Veteran Top Fuel driver Clay Millican has been flexing his muscles throughout the 2018 season.
That storyline didn’t change Saturday at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.
In Saturday’s only qualifying session – the second one was canceled because of rain – Millican clocked a 3.750-second elapsed time at track-record speed of 332.67 mph in his Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster.
“It's just that Australian,” said Millican, referring to his crew chief David Grubnic. “He just makes this thing go. Mac Savage and David Grubnic have just really got a good handle on making the car go. I have to tell the truth, we were highly disappointed to lose second round last week (in Bristol, Tenn.). We had the field covered on Saturday by several hundredths and I thought we were going repeat (as the winner at Bristol) and it was a big disappointment because I really wanted to win that one. But, I love coming to this race track (in Norwalk). I was looking forward to the new track surface and the Bader family are some of the greatest people on the planet. I just absolutely love them.”
This is his sixth No. 1 qualifier on the season as he has three career national event wins all coming since he was crowned the champion at Bristol in 2017.
“Once we were in the top five after our first run, it allowed Grubby to get after it on the last run,” Millican said. “I really wasn’t expecting a lot different than that and when the car does what he wants it to do it makes everybody on the team confident about what is going on. When he can hit he numbers he says he’s going to run that means things are good. Of course, those conditions are going to be a little bit different than what we see (Sunday), and we will see what happens. This race track is good, nice and smooth and we like smooth race tracks. We don’t like whoopee-dos.”
Millican acknowledged that his loss in Bristol because he smoked the tires is still bothering Grubnic.
“For me, I’m like all right it smoked the tires, for him he has to know why and that’s what makes him so good,” Millican said. “He wants to know why we did it and how we did it and how do we go quicker. That’s what makes him tick. When you’re battling rain like this and if you have a bad first run, you’re just praying the rain clouds go away because you just want the opportunity to qualify and that’s why we didn’t really get after too crazy on the first run.
We needed to make sure we went down the race track and then once you’re qualified you know it is OK and allows the second run to kind of be a freebie, so to speak. Unlike, when you know you’re going to get four qualifying runs and then you have a game plan. There was no pressure (Saturday). We all knew the rain was going to be here, but once the car went on the first run it made (Saturday) a lot easier. That changes again (Sunday) that’s when it counts.”