MILLICAN MAKES GOOD ON PROMISE EN ROUTE TO BRADENTON NO. 1; TASCA RUNS 341!

 

 

When Clay Millican sets his mind to deliver a promise, the likable drag racer from Drummonds, Tenn., until he reaches the objective. Friday night, the Parts Plus Top Fuel dragster driver could finally say, "Mission accomplished."

Millican ran a 3.669 at 335.57 mph to climb to the top of the dragster qualifying list. Austin Prock (Funny Car) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) also led their respective categories. 

Millican, who once showed up to Bradenton Motorsports Park back in 1998 without an engine in his Modified Eliminator dragster or enclosed trailer yet still won the race, walked away from qualifying at the $250-to-win PRO Superstar Shootout. This time, he had plenty of engines in the trailer.

Personal success was never his plan. 

"That was a big run, not just to be number one qualifier, but for the entire time I've had Jim Oberhofer here. I've been on a mission for him to have his [personal best] E.T. reset, and we just done that. 

"Jim O's best run ever was a 67. So that's now off the board. We got my best speed this weekend, his career-best E.T., Nicky Boninfante's career-best E.T., and speed. Now, what's coming is my personal best E.T., which is a 3.62. That's coming. This team, with all the things they've changed to make that car run like that, it's pretty dang impressive. That just means you got the right people in the right place and good things are going to happen."

Over half the runs that got in the field were pulled off in the final session. Thursday's leader, Doug Kalitta, stepped up in the final session with a 3.672 but fell to No. 2. The balance of the field included Mike Salinas (3.688), Antron Brown (3.694), Tony Schumacher (3.696), Shawn Langdon (3.704), Justin Ashley (3.713), and Leah Pruett (3.720).

The eight-car field was a tough proposition in the Top Fuel ranks, and falling short of the 3.720 bump spot were past national event winners Steve Torrence, Billy Torrence, Brittany Force and Josh Hart. 

Although drag racing is measured mainly through elapsed time, speed stole the show on Friday night. 

After running 339.87 miles per hour on Thursday, there was no doubt Bob Tasca III was going to finish the job when the sun went down on Friday evening. It's not an official NHRA record, but when the topic of 340 miles per hour in a Funny Car comes up, Tasca can lay claim to being the first to surpass the mark. 

Tasca went through the speed traps at 341.68 miles per hour to become drag racing's king of speed. 

"We wanted to make sure we could get it, and the boys got it," Tasca said. "We set the car up for speed, and the speed gods gave us speed. Amazing run, one for the ages. First ever over 340. Never forget that one.

Tasca's 3.840 elapsed time actually placed him second in qualifying. 

The top spot was taken by Austin Prock, who was the epitome of frustration in testing. But as he learned a long time ago, it's not how one starts but the finish that counts. 

"This is surreal after the way the week started," Prock explained. "I'm really proud of this team. My dad and brother told me that they were going to push for it on the last run. I needed to make sure I was perfect and not mess anything up. Really proud of this team.

"I've only made three full pulls on this car, and they've all been low-to-mid-3.80s. It's unreal, and I am looking forward to tomorrow."

Prock ran a career-best in the final session to land in the top spot with a 3.840, 337.41 mph. His best run came during the final session, along with four other drivers. John Force was third quickest with a 3.849, which was just ahead of J.R. Todd's 3.868.

Paul Lee, who ran the second-quickest run of his career Thursday night to get in the field with a 3.877, made two impressive runs on  Friday, first with a 3.889 in the heat of the day, and returned in the final session with a  3.890.

Two drivers, Matt Hagan (3.880) and (3.903), came from outside of the field to get in the eight-car show.  

Enders entered the final session as the 12th quickest, and by the time it came her time to run, she had been bumped out of the field with a 6.563 best run. She had run a 6.489 in testing, but such a performance was nowhere to be found. 

Four pairs into the final session, Enders let her new Camaro rip, broken in by Jeg Coughlin Jr. late last season.

"I think we're becoming good at [a flair for the dramatic], right? Enders said. "Just off the trailer, not so great, and then somehow we rally from the back. So I never doubt it, I never do, but it was stressful going through it. Brand new race car. Rick Jones obviously does a fabulous job, and Jeggie broke it in for me in Vegas and Pomona last year. 

"Every car has its own personality, and as someone who doesn't love and embrace change, it's challenging for me. But I'm getting more and more comfortable in every run, and hopefully we can do battle this year."

In the final session, the right lane had its own kind of personality, and for Thursday's low qualifier, Dallas Glenn, his race car and the left lane didn't agree. He failed to make a full pass in the lane in testing or qualifying, and it was the strength of Thursday evening's 6.507 elapsed time kept him in the second spot. 

Of the 16 qualifiers, 12 of the Pro Stockers' best runs came in the left lane. 

Cristian Cuadra (6.514, 211.10), Jerry Tucker (6.515, 211.66), and Bo Butner (6.519, 211.69) rounded out the top five. 

Camrie Caruso anchored the field with a 6.573 elapsed time.
 

 

FINAL QUALIFYING 

TOP FUEL

1. Clay Millican   3.669, 335.57 
2. Doug Kalitta    3.672, 333.49
3. Mike Salinas    3.688, 328.86
4. Antron Brown    3.694, 326.95
5. Tony Schumacher 3.696, 330.96
6. Shawn Langdon   3.706, 333.91
7. Justin Ashley   3.713, 326.87
8. Leah Pruett     3.720, 329.99
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9.  Steve Torrence  3.729, 330.80
10. Billy Torrence  3.740, 333.99
11. Brittany Force  3.736, 330.39
12. Josh Hart       3.762, 326.95

 


FUNNY CAR

1. Austin Prock     3.825, 337.41
2. Bob Tasca III    3.840, 341.68
3. John Force       3.849, 332.59
4. J.R. Todd        3.868, 330.31
5. Paul Lee         3.877, 331.36
6. Matt Hagan       3.880, 329.10
7. Alexis DeJoria   3.893, 330.80
8. Cruz Pedregon    3.903, 326.71
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9.  Chad Green       3.916, 317.49
10. Daniel Wilkerson 3.929, 327.82
11. Blake Alexander  3.930, 323.35
12. Ron Capps        3.945, 324.44
13. Dave Richards    7.615, 78.70

PRO STOCK

1. Erica Enders   6.505, 210.21
2. Dallas Glenn    6.507, 210.97
3. Jerry Tucker    6.515, 211.66
4. Bo Butner       6.519, 211.69
5. Aaron Stanfield 6.523, 211.49
6. Cristian Cuadra 6.514, 211.10
7. Jeggie Coughlin 6.523, 210.37
8. Fernando Cuadra Jr. 6.526, 210.47
9. Matt Hartford   6.536, 209.69
10, Chris McGaha    6.544, 210.64
11. Dave Connolly  6.546, 208.71
12. Troy Coughlin Jr. 6.551, 211.86
13. Eric Latino    6.556, 206.62
14. Greg Anderson   6.558, 205.84
15. Camrie Caruso  6.573, 209.82
16. David Cuadra   6.550, 210.11
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17. Deric Kramer   6.606, 209.39
18. Mason McGaha   6.733, 208.74
 

 

 

 

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