Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Millican makes first trek to Mile-High Nationals
“Gosh, I can’t remember the last time I raced there,” he said, “but it was while I was still driving a Super Comp car. I don’t know what to expect.” I can only hold my breath for so long and I understand up there it’s even harder to breathe.
Millican stepped into Top Fuel in 1998 and went on to win 50 IHRA races and six season championships, but he’s been chasing NHRA POWERade Series points in 2007 and the 13th race of the season unfolds this weekend, the 28th Mopar Mile-High Nationals.
“The track is beautiful, I do remember that,” Millican added, who will be at the controls of Evan Knoll’s Ratt – Back for More Tour dragster. “This is a new experience for most of our team. Only Mike Kloeber, our crew chief, and Johnny West, our assistant crew chief, have raced there.”
Kloeber knows how difficult it is to squeeze horsepower from oxygen-starved nitromethane-fueled engines in the thin air. He also knows you need a special engine/clutch combination to succeed. One that, unfortunately, is impractical at every other stop.
“There are a lot of forces of nature working against you up there,” said Kloeber. “There’s no atmospheric pressure so there’s no air going into the engine. The air is real thin so we don’t get any down force, and the track is notoriously hot. When you put all those things together it just makes the degree of difficulty for making good runs as high as it could be all year.
“To make matters worse, some teams run real well up there relative to the altitude.”
With temperatures holding steady at 100 degrees last year, Top Fuel elapsed times were in the 4.8-second range and Funny Cars were running in the low five-seconds – extremely slow times for anywhere else.
“If you don’t get a good run in the night session when the track is cooler, you are going to be in real trouble during the day,” added Kloeber.
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