Using the momentum of last season’s first career NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel win and sixth-place finish, Clay Millican is setting an impressive pace to open the 2018 season.
The Top Fuel fan favorite has posted two No. 1 qualifiers, setting the E.T. world record with an incredible run of 3.628 to open the season, advanced to two semifinals and currently sits third in points. While it is still early in the season, Millican, who has also gone 335.23mph in 2018, feels nothing but good vibes in his 10,000-horsepower DENSO/Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster heading into this weekend’s DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which marks the debut of the four-wide racing experience for fans on the West Coast.
“I would definitely say we’re further along than any group I’ve ever had to start the year,” said Millican, who qualified No. 1 at Gainesville. “It really feels good. We’re way further ahead than we were at this time last year, and all things considered we’re in really good shape. When we go down the track, we’re pretty awesome. Everyone has a good handle on everything and I’m having a blast.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) and Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 6 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 8.
Four dragsters flying down the lanes at 330+ mph simultaneously provides one of the biggest thrill rides in motorsports and Millican is excited to take in the atmosphere this weekend in Las Vegas. He has sensed the brewing excitement building up to the event and is ready to put on a show at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Millican said. “I’ve really paid attention on social media and they’ve done so much work to the facility, and the place looks awesome. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had another sold-out crowd. I really like the chaos of the four-wide, all the crazy staging. It’s fun. When it’s all said and done, we’re there to make the fans have a good time. When you have something new like this, it’s a good chance there’s some new people watching, and I love showing fans what they’ve been missing.”
What they might have missed is a strong start from Millican, who has posted several standout runs thanks to a team led by crew chief David Grubnic. The next step is picking up wins against the likes of defending event winner Brown, reigning world champion Brittany Force, Phoenix winner and points leader Steve Torrence, Tony Schumacher, Leah Pritchett, Gainesville winner Richie Crampton, and Pomona winner Doug Kalitta. But Millican feels good about what his team is building and he is confident that will pay off throughout the 2018 season.
“Obviously the goal is wins, but if we keep knocking down semifinals all summer, come the (Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship), we’ll be in a good position,” Millican said. “I feel like there will be some wins along the way, but it’s all coming together. We started the year with a chassis we didn’t know, but it looks like (Grubnic) has found more power. I know we have a car that can outrun anybody and that allows me to concentrate on just doing my job. It is really a lot of fun.”