O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
Millican advances to first career final round
Houston, Sunday: Clay Millican of Team 104+ Performance Additives/Lehman Racing advanced to his first-ever final round in NHRA Top Fuel competition at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals.
This feat was very special to the team, as the Spring Nationals served as Millican's one-year anniversary with Team 104+ Performance Additives, a product of Chicago-based Gold Eagle Company.
"We started off with 104+ Performance Additives at this race last year and got our career best E.T. and speed (4.505 at 330.23 mph), and this year to come here and make it to the finals for the first time ever is pretty awesome," said Millican. "It was nice to win three rounds and make it to the finals, which was our goal coming into the race."
Millican, the No. 7 qualifier, defeated Mark Kinsella in the first round of eliminations with an elapsed time of 4.597 at 314.31 mph. He went on to face Doug Kalitta in the second round. Millican bettered his career won-lost record against Kalitta to 2-1 with a win over the No. 2 qualifier.
In his first semifinal appearance of the season, Millican faced 2002-2003 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon, who had beaten him three times in previous semifinal rounds. Millican began hazing the tires around the 1,000 foot mark, while Dixon lost traction early in the run. Millican defeated Dixon for the second time in his career, with an E.T. of 4.810 at 287.72 mph to Dixon's 10.091 at 93.15 mph.
In the first NHRA final round of his career, Millican faced Brandon Bernstein, the No. 1 qualifier. Millican got off to a great start, with a reaction time of .042 seconds to Bernstein's .099, but began smoking the tires about 400 feet into the run. Bernstein smoked his tires around the 1,000 foot mark, and held on for the win with an elapsed time of 4.695 at 271.79 to Millican's 5.032 at 238.81 mph.
"It was disappointing to lose," said Millican.
Millican qualifies seventh
Houston, Saturday: Clay Millican of Team 104+ Performance Additives/Lehman Racing qualified for the final eliminations at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals in the No. 7 position with an elapsed time of 4.578 at 310.98 mph.
This race marks the one-year anniversary for Millican and 104+ Performance Additives, a product of Gold Eagle Company, which is based in Chicago. The team will attempt to get it's first-ever NHRA national event victory in Sunday's eliminations, where Millican will face number 10 qualifier Mark Kinsella in the first round. Kinsella qualified with an E.T. of 4.630 at 311.70 mph. This is the first time that the two will face-off in a NHRA national event.
"Man, it would be awesome to get our first NHRA win on our one-year anniversary with Team 104+ Performance Additives," said Millican. "Hopefully things will go well on Sunday and we can bring home a victory for all the guys at 104."
Millican, a former forklift driver from Drummonds, Tenn., was in the No. 13 spot after his first qualifying run of the weekend, but was able to move up to seventh after his second pass. He maintained that position throughout the remainder of qualifications.
Millican hopes to build on recent success
Houston, pre-race: Clay Millican of Team 104+ Performance Additives/Lehman Racing will race in his third NHRA national event this season at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston on April 15-18 at Houston Raceway Park.
Millican hopes to build on his recent success in Texas, as he won the IHRA Texas Nationals in San Antonio on March 28 with Team Werner/Lehman Racing, setting new track records for both elapsed time and speed at the San Antonio Raceway.
"Texas has always been one of our lucky states to race in," said Millican. "Whether we race in San Antonio, Dallas, or Houston, the Lone Star state usually treats us pretty well. Houston is particularly special because the best motor oil in the world, Royal Purple, is made just down the road in Porter, Texas!"
Millican, a former forklift driver from Drummonds, Tenn., set his career best elapsed time and speed at last year's O'Reilly Spring Nationals, with a time of 4.505 seconds at 330.23 mph. This also marked his first race with Team 104+ Performance Additives.
"I can't believe this is our one-year anniversary with Team 104+," said Millican. "We have had some great races with this car, and hopefully we can get our first-ever NHRA win for Team 104+ Performance Additives in Houston."
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