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McMILLEN READY FOR MORE

 

Terry McMillen had planned simply to go 300 or 330 feet on the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports dragstrip Thursday to test a list of new equipment in his Amalie Oil Dragster before the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello season. But the joy on his face was hard to disguise.

“It’s good to be back and for Team Amalie, we’re just going out there and we’re going to hope for the best and try to get some more wins like we did in Vegas last year,” McMillen said, “because that was just overwhelming. I want some more of those overwhelming experiences. So it was really good, and you know, I’m just excited to be back out here and doing what we do.

“It’s just exciting. I can’t wait. Pomona’s a week away. It’s a week away. When we left Pomona, we were what, 90 days out from the next race? Those 90 days felt like about 15 because it’s flown by,” he said.

TASCA ROLLS WITH THE PUNCHES IN TESTING

 

The Ford Motor Company returned to fulltime Funny Car racing last Wednesday with a big bang – literally.

Bob Tasca’s car grenaded during a practice run during the first day of Nitro Spring Training, then had a mishap at the starting line Thursday. However, the Rhode Island auto dealer and staunch Ford associate at the racetrack and in business wasn’t angry.

“We just broke an intake valve. It’s just one of those things in these cars where everything in the car is brand-new. I mean, brand new, so you can’t blame it on an old part. It is what it is. Things happen and we’ll bounce back from it,” he said afterward. “The car made two great runs. I mean, up until the time it broke, the intake valve, it was some of the quickest 60’ times of my career. So, I mean, the car ran fantastic. And the first run, we shut it off at 330’, our planned shutoff. And the second run, we were outpacing the first run substantially, and it just broke an intake valve. So, hey listen, that’s nitro racing.”

JOHN FORCE RACING AND ENTERTAINMENT TO RELEASE WEB SERIES ON DOMINANT 2017 SEASON

John Force Entertainment will be releasing a ten-episode web series to the John Force Racing YouTube page on Friday, Feb. 9 at noon ET. The series, titled “Force”, follows the four-car team throughout the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season offering behind the scenes views of the Force family.
 
When John Force Entertainment began filming in 2017, they had no idea they’d be chronicling the team’s path to a pair of world championships.

TOP FUEL PILOT HADDOCK UPBEAT ABOUT 2018 SEASON

 

Terry Haddock’s NHRA nitro Funny Car and Top Fuel career has been a case study in perseverance.

The Temple, Texas, team owner/driver, however, has kept plugging away and he’s more optimistic than ever about what his team can accomplish in 2018 when he competes in the Top Fuel class.

“We had a brand-new Top Fuel car built and we are trying to get everything squared away and we are working hard trying to be there next week to see how it all plays out,” Haddock said. “We finished 12th last year (in the point standings) and we are going to try and improve on that. My heart is still in those Funny Cars, but sponsorship is so tough, and at least right now I can get those qualifying checks in Top Fuel that keep you going. It’s not enough, but at least we can keep trying.”

Next week is NHRA’s season-opening Winternationals Feb. 8-11 in Pomona, Calif.

GRATEFUL CRAMPTON HAS ONE BIG GOAL

 Richie Crampton is a self-described realist, and because of that he’s maybe the most thankful driver on the Mello Yello tour. Crampton worked at Don Schumacher racing briefly but made his name at Morgan Lucas Racing [MLR}, first as diligent clutch specialist then driver. He came to Kalitta Motorsports after MLR abandoned the driving side of business, stepping in after Troy Coughlin Jr.’s late-season decision to step from the SealMaster Dragster that once had JR Todd at the wheel.

After MLR parked his dragster and Lucas’, Crampton admittedly was in limbo. He said he had no guarantee he ever would drive a Top Fuel dragster again.

“I think I’m more realistic than anyone out here on just how just hard it is to get a ride with a top-level team like this. I was obviously very fortunate when I was selected to drive for the previous team, but to get the phone call to come here was something I hoped to happen, but in all reality, I didn’t know if it ever would,” Crampton said. “Everyone in the world wants to drive one of these cars, and I understand it. There are a lot of up-and-coming sportsman racers that deserve a shot also, and I get that, too. So for me, it’s just about appreciating what I have here and hope to never be without a ride again.

BECKMAN PUTS TRYING TEST INTO PERSPECTIVE

 

Jack Beckman said his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger has been treating him terribly in the preseason test session. “We’re 0 for 5,” he said of his sluggish start to the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park event this week. “But you know what? Literally half our clutch pack is brand new, so you have to be patient about this. It would be different if this was a Monday test after a national event where we knew exactly what the track conditions were and what clutch combination it needed. We’re running on a track that hasn’t seen nitro cars in months.   We’re also running with 40-degree headers, which in essence makes the car seem heavier.

“So if we had all of our stock discs in, it would be easier to adapt to the track and the headers. But why would we? We’ve only got enough of last year’s stuff to go two and a half races. Why use that up getting acclimated to the new headers and rev limiter and stuff and know we’re going to have to change it again come two races into the season?” he said. “So we’re going to bite the bullet right now, make wholesale changes in the bellhousing and just stay until we figure it out.”

DENSO SPONSORS ANGIE AND MATT SMITH FOR 2018 NHRA SEASON

DENSO Products and Services Americas, Inc. will serve as the primary sponsor for Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Angie Smith in the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. DENSO also will serve as an associate sponsor of racer Matt Smith, Angie’s teammate and husband.

Only one of a handful of women to ever compete in the class, Angie Smith will continue to ride her Matt Smith Racing Buell V-Twin.

SOURCE CONFIRMS: NOW THERE WILL BE NO WIN LIGHTS IN QUALIFYING

Two weeks ago, the NHRA, according to Compulink timing system founder Bob Brockmeyer, planned to change the win light format in qualifying signifying the quicker run. Another source close to the situation confirmed the NHRA reversed their decision last week to the traditional procedure but as of Monday decided to do away with the win-light altogether in qualifying. Now only elapsed time and speeds will illuminate following the respective runs.

That's right no win light at all now in qualifying.

And maybe this will suit the readers of CompetitionPlus.com fine since 43-percent of the 3,500-plus votes cast said just to leave the traditional measure in place. Another 32-percent voted that it really didn't matter. Only 25-percent were in favor of the proposal.

Facebook follower Bill Anderson offered, "If a newbie didn't understand what was going on, in my experience the stands are filled with friendly knowledgable folk that are more than happy to chat and explain things."

ANTRON BROWN SEES A BRIGHT FUTURE

Both Antron Brown and wife Billie Jo, who are celebrating their wedding anniversary this week, have grown up in drag-racing families, his in New Jersey, hers in Louisiana. So naturally they passed along their passion to their children. All three have raced Junior Dragsters from an early age, and they’ve learned life lessons – the same ones Brown is learning as he and the Matco Tools Dragster team prepare for a run at a fourth Top Fuel championship: “You’ve got to put the work in. If you’re struggling, you’ve got to go test. If you want to get better, you’ve got to test to get it right.”

And, perhaps prophetically, 13-year-old Anson Brown spoke to his father’s 2018 title chase.

JIM DUNN RACING BRINGS MOONEYES TO NHRA WINTERNATIONALS

Jim Dunn Racing and Mooneyes are a part of Southern California drag racing history. The two have been teamed by use of equipment or sponsorship for more than 50 years. The team will be bringing out a new version of the white and black Moon Equipped Funny Car during the NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals presented by Protect the Harvest this weekend at Auto Club Raceway on the Pomona Fairplex grounds.
 
Moon Equipment, headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, California is a destination itself for nostalgia race enthusiasts and hot rodders alike. From their daily showroom tours to a can’t miss annual holiday car show, Moon continues to distribute popular racing items including fuel tanks, gauges, wheel discs, helmets, and collectibles.

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