NHRA’s six-race Countdown to the Championship made winning a world title realistic for Top Fuel driver Clay Millican.

Following the 18-race regular season, Millican trailed points leader Steve Torrence by 188 points.

When the points reshuffled, second-place Millican was only 20 points in back of Torrence when they arrived in Reading, Pa., for the Dodge Nationals.

Millican was able to slice that deficit by six points as he had the fastest two runs of the day Friday – the second one at 3.723 seconds at 330.72 mph gave him the provisional No. 1 spot at Maple Grove Raceway.

“It is pretty awesome,” Millican said. “Our group of guys are pretty incredible. We normally have a target, other words Gubby (his crew chief David Grubnic) comes to me and tells me he is trying to run X. (Friday), he said I can’t tell you what to expect out of the car until we are about to start it because our goal 100 percent is to get three bonus points. Because of being No. 2 in points, that meant we were at the back of the line for the first qualifying session and he made his judgement based on the other cars. The only car we had to worry about the first session was Steve Torrence and so we went 3.74. Second session we did the same thing.”

The veteran Millican acknowledged swinging for the fences right before the run begins is a mental challenge for his crew.

“It is a little hard on the guys because there’s a big variance in trying to run 3.80 versus running a 3.74 like we did in the first session,” Millican said. “We knew the second session was going to be even quicker and he was last-minute again, he actually asked the Salinas guys to give him a second. I was already strapped in and he was in there twisting knobs. At that point, I can’t tell if he is speeding up or slowing it down, but he turned the right knobs and it went 3.72 at 330 mmph. Mission accomplished. We gained our six points (Friday) and it all counts right now. There was such a huge gap Steve Torrence had and now it is 20 points. So, six points we made a big jump. All those little points add up and at the end of the year it could be the difference of being the champion or not being the champion. That’s it our goal to be the champion.”

Millican, a six-time IHRA world champion, has won two races this season and been the No. 1 qualifier seven times.