Clay Millican, Parts Plus/Great Clips Team Continue Laying Foundation for Strong Campaign in 2015

PHOENIX, Sunday, February 22, 2015: With his hometown area covered in ice over the weekend, Clay Millican was looking to looking to get on a hot streak behind the wheel of the Parts Plus/Great Clips Top Fuel dragster during the NHRA Nationals in Phoenix.

While the plan in Pomona was to figure out the engine combination and timing on the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster, crew chief David Grubnic directed the team to focus on the chassis and the clutch heading into Phoenix. Although Millican struggled early in qualifying at Wild Horse Motorsports Park, the Parts Plus/Great Clips team gained valuable information about the car.

“In Pomona, we were extremely happy with how the motor was running—basically, no parts damage,” Millican said. “So our plan this weekend in Phoenix was to leave the motor on and find out what the car likes, the chassis likes, and the clutch likes.”

During Friday’s qualifying efforts, the Parts Plus/Great Clips Top Fuel dragster was aggressive leaving the starting line, with poor results. On Saturday, the team went the other way and the car responded by being really lazy; however, the Tennessee native did manage to qualify for Sunday’s elimination rounds with a conservative [email protected] following an early shutoff in Q3. Millican’s incremental times in Q3: 60ft-0.833 sec.; 330ft-2.114; and [email protected] mph.

Qualified in the 15th spot, Millican would face No. 2 qualifier Doug Kalitta in the first round of Sunday eliminations, an interesting pairing since Grubnic is a former Kalitta Motorsports driver.

Knowing it would take their best shot to beat Kalitta, the Parts Plus/Great Clips team once again came out really aggressive on Sunday, but the car smoked the tires right off the line.

“We just don’t have it quite figured out yet,” Millican said afterward. “But we’re learning a lot with every run. I’m still very excited about everything we’re doing. The crew guys are getting better and better, and we made it through another weekend with no damage to the engine parts whatsoever.

“The way I look at it, this team took another giant step this weekend. Grubnic and [general manager] Lance Larsen will examine all the data, and we’ll come out ready to go in Gainesville. It may take four or five races to really get our feet underneath us, but that’s the beauty of the NHRA Countdown setup. I see us getting hot eventually and into the top 10, and then anything can happen in the Countdown.”

Over the weekend, the Parts Plus/Great Clips team hosted an enthusiastic group of employees and customers from Tucson-based Merle’s Automotive Supply Club in the Club Rev hospitality area.

“I always enjoy meeting Parts Plus members and their customers—it’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” Millican said. “I even had the chance to talk a little racing with Stephen Sattinger [CEO at Merle’s Automotive].”

Millican will have the opportunity to mingle with several members and customers from the Automotive Distribution Network when he spends his off-week in New Orleans during the upcoming Network National Convention, February 26–March 1.

“We’re getting the car ready to travel to the convention right now,” he said. “This is a special event that only happens every couple of years, so we’re bringing the actual race car—not the show car—to New Orleans, along with a few members of the Parts Plus/Great Clips crew. This will be my second Network Convention, and it’s going to be a blast.”

Over Kill Motorsports Partners with Stringer Performance and Clay Millican in 2015

MCLEANSBORO, Ill.  (February 16, 2015)  – Stringer Performance has announced a partnership with Over Kill Motorsports for the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season.  An industry leader in motor coaches, race trailers and customized golf carts, Over Kill Motorsports will serve as an associate sponsor of the Parts Plus/ Great Clips Top Fuel dragster driven by Clay Millican.

OKOver Kill Motorsports, which will receive brand recognition with logo placement on the Stringer Performance dragster, has prepared a fully customized golf cart for the team to use throughout the season.  This partnership will generate unprecedented exposure for Over Kill through TV time and on-site driver interaction with fans.

“Over Kill Motorsports is proud to be involved with the Parts Plus / Great Clips Top Fuel team for this upcoming season and beyond,” said Mitchell Clary, owner of Over Kill Motorsports.   “This is a huge step for us in driving traffic to our okmotorsports.com website and generating exposure for our brand within the world of NHRA racing.  We look forward to keeping Stringer Performance rolling in style through the pits in one of our custom golf carts during the 2015 season.”

Team owner Doug Stringer is pleased to welcome Over Kill Motorsports on board.

“Over Kill Motorsports provides premium products with superior personalization and outstanding customer service,” said Stringer. “This is a partnership that works because we both share in the belief that taking care of your customers is a top priority. They are a perfect addition to the sponsor lineup we currently have in place. We welcome them to the team and thank them for the great looking customized golf cart they have provided us this year.”

About Over Kill Motorsports:

Since its inception, Over Kill Motorsports has been an avid supporter of the drag racing community, and 2015 will be no exception.  Located in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., Over Kill is an industry leader in motor coaches, race trailers and customized golf carts.  Its partnership with top manufactures and its ability to execute world class customizations sets it apart from the competition.

Clay Millican, Parts Plus/Great Clips Team Execute Nearly Perfect Plan in Season Opener

POMONA, CALIF., February 9, 2015: Sitting in his trailer about to pop open a celebratory bottle of premium root beer, Top Fuel driver Clay Millican is ecstatic following his season-opening elimination round run at Sunday’s NHRA Winternationals. From the big smile on his face, you’d think he’d just won.

“I hate losing, but to me it almost feels like we won,” says Millican, moments after shaking the tires of his Parts Plus/Great Clips Top Fuel dragster in an E1 matchup with red-hot Spencer Massey. “We have a racecar that I haven’t felt this confident about in a long time.”

The Parts Plus team entered the weekend with a plan designed by new crew chief Dave Grubnic, a successful veteran driver in his own right. Instead of coming out of the gate aggressively Friday and Saturday, Grubnic advised Millican to shut the car off early at designated points on his first three runs to get the car qualified and gather more data before tuning the car for a strong Q4. And up until Saturday afternoon, everything had pretty much gone according to plan. Millican shut the car off at the 330-ft-mark in Q3 but still managed a [email protected] 270 mph to coast into the 13th spot in qualifying.

“It’s a bit of a risk to do that in qualifying, but Grubnic had a vision,” Millican says. “He told me that we could run this car to half track and coast to qualifying, which admittedly is sorta crazy, but it worked. I believe in what Grubnic is doing so much that I wasn’t worried about it.”

With Millican’s qualifying spot secured and more data to work with, Grubnic was planning to shoot for a 3.76 to move Clay up into the top half of the qualifying field. But Mother Nature had a plan of her own. Rain quickly entered the area Saturday afternoon, springing the young Parts Plus/Great Clips team into action to make adjustments to the car to deal with slick track conditions. In the end, however, Q4 was cancelled due to the lingering rainfall, leaving Millican in the 13th spot at the end of qualifying, with a first-round showdown vs. Spencer Massey, who qualified 3rd with an impressive 3.745.

“I certainly wish we could have gotten the fourth qualifying run in,” Millican says. “I have a feeling we were about to run the quickest quarter-mile I’ve ever run in my career. Plus, we really needed the information that would have come with another qualifying run. Heck, Sunday was just the ninth time we stepped on the gas all season. To have the runs we’ve had so far is unbelievable. The amount of professionalism on this team is amazing—and it all starts with Doug [Stringer, team owner].”

For Stringer, CEO and president of Stringer Holdings, the Top Fuel weekend in Pomona was a homecoming of sorts.

“I was here about 15 years ago as a crew member, so it means a lot to me to be back here,” he said. “This team perfectly carried out the plan we had in place this weekend. When I hire a crew chief, I look at him as being my quarterback; he makes the calls. That’s why all our qualifying runs were test runs: We wanted to be perfect at 60 ft and then be perfect at 330 and then at half track and then at a full run. We had some parts we wanted to try in the fourth qualifying round, so Saturday’s rain put us behind the eight ball today. But that was out of our control. I couldn’t be any prouder of this team.”

On Sunday morning, with the rain clouds gone and the track surface heating up, the Parts Plus crew was working fast to change the car’s setup from the previous afternoon. Then just as the car was ready to be pulled into staging, the team noticed an oil leak. The crew quickly made the repair but didn’t have enough time afterward to fire the engine. Millican went on to shake the tires around the 100-ft mark in E1, ending his day.

Still, with an all-star lineup of Millican, Grubnic and Lance Larsen, co-crew chief and general manager, the Parts Plus/Great Clips team is on track for a strong 2015 campaign.

“There’s a chemistry building that I haven’t felt since I won six straight championships,” Millican said. “It’s something I can’t quite explain. There’s just something about this combination of talent that Doug has put together. I don’t know how to tell you what that is. It just feels right.”

NEXT RACE: Feb. 20–22, Phoenix

Parts Plus Renews Primary Sponsorship of Top Fuel Driver Clay Millican for 5th Consecutive NHRA Series

Parts Plus has reached an agreement with McLeansboro, Ill.-based Stringer Performance to return as the primary sponsor of Top Fuel driver Clay Millican for a fifth-consecutive season in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, according to Mike Lambert, president of the Automotive Distribution Network.

“We’re pleased to announce our continued sponsorship of Clay Millican and the Parts Plus Top Fuel dragster as part of the newly formed Stringer Performance team in the NHRA Top Fuel division,” Lambert said. “Several of our manufacturer partners are returning as associate sponsors to assist the Network in developing a first-class marketing program to promote our Millican partnership and to ensure our Parts Plus members continue to effectively reach the end user—the professional who throws away the box.”

Great Clips Inc. and Weld Wheels will serve as co-sponsors of Millican and the Parts Plus Top Fuel team for the entire 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Series. Former NHRA Top Fuel driver David Grubnic is onboard as crew chief for team owner Doug Stringer, while Lance Larsen returns to the Parts Plus crew as co-crew chief and general manager.

“We have assembled a great team, with everyone putting their heart and soul into making sure that we are competitive from the moment we show up for the first race in Pomona in February 2015,” said Millican, a 6-time IHRA Top Fuel World Champion. “I’m excited to have the continued support of Parts Plus, who has stood by me for the last four years.”

Stringer, CEO and president of Stringer Holdings, is returning to NHRA drag racing after successfully developing a multi-tiered racing program for Great Clips in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, aligning the company with Hendrick Motorsports, JR Motorsports and Kasey Kahne Racing to maximize its brand exposure.

“Clay Millican and I go back many years, and he is someone I have a huge respect for,” Stringer said. “I have all the confidence in the world in David and Lance to not only lead this team but to also build Stringer Performance into a championship-caliber organization. I want to thank Parts Plus for their ongoing sponsorship of Clay as he transitions to Stringer Performance.”

Gearing up for the season

Gearing up for its debut season on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, © Stringer Performance is a dream realized for owner Doug Stringer, CEO and President of Stringer Holdings. Combining his years of experience in the industry, Stringer has put together a championship making team, including veteran Top Fuel driver Clay Millican, veteran driver turned crew chief David Grubnic, and co-crew chief and general manager Lance Larsen.
The team, based in McLeansboro, Illinois, is the first professional motorsports team to call Southern Illinois home. Its location near the borders of Southern Indiana, Western Kentucky and Eastern Missouri makes Stringer Performance not only a Southern Illinois team, but a team for the Heartland. Tune in this season to watch Clay and crew bring the Wally home to the Heartland, and it’s gonna be great!