After so much success in a rival organization, Clay Millican would love to score his first ever NHRA victory at this weekend’s Thunder Valley Nationals.
You see Bristol Dragway is not only in his home state, but it’s also where Millican matched a career-best NHRA finish with a runner-up in 2004.
“I can’t think of a better place to get my first NHRA win than right here,” said the Memphis-area racer. “I’ve been so close in the NHRA. To win it in my home state, that would be hard to top. To do it this weekend, it would be even better.”
Millican is a six-time IHRA World Champion and the winningest driver in IHRA Top Fuel history with 52 victories. He scored 10 consecutive event wins and 30 consecutive round wins in 2002. Still, he’s yet to win against the NHRA competition despite making it to eight final rounds, including four times last season.
The 48-year-old feels Bristol presents one of his best shots of finally getting the job done.
“So many things have happened at this event over the years,” he said. “I love coming here and we want so bad to win this event. I made it to the final round a few years ago and I would love to do that again on Sunday.”
Before the event, Millican decided to drive all the way from his home in Drummonds, right outside Memphis, to Bristol. He throughly enjoyed the trip across the state of Tennessee, slowing down from his top speed of 328 mph in his dragster to 65 mph in the passenger car where he was able take in the scenery.
“It was a 500-mile trip which is really cool, but I love this place and this part of the state,” he said. “I travel all over the United States and it is really one of the prettiest places in the country. I raced here at the old track and there is nothing like this gorgeous race track. Those mountains and the echo you get, you can feel the thunder.”
Currently 12th in the NHRA point standings, Millican also has his sights on making the Countdown for the Championship playoffs for the third time in his career.
He trails J.R. Todd, who is in the10th-place spot by 82 points, although he knows ground can be hard to make up with the competition the way it is. While the machine is obviously a huge part of the equation with speeds over 300 mph, Millican added that a driver plays a huge part in a team’s success.
“The last few years, Top Fuel has gotten so close,” he said. “It’s more like Pro Stock now. The drivers are so much more important than what they were in the past. It’s not just car performance anymore. It’s how the driver treats the car leaving the starting line. It’s how he keeps it in the groove. It’s an awesome, awesome class to be a part of.”comments powered by Disqus