Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk – Fast Facts

Millican looks to carry solid Bristol qualifying effort over to Norwalk…

Millican and his Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster laid down some serious speed over Father’s Day weekend in Bristol. They stuck to their plan and qualified for the show with two solid runs on Friday night, leaving the rest of qualifying to better understand the car’s tuning for the ever changing weather patterns of the weekend. While the team didn’t bring home the Wally from Bristol, they did bring home a lot more data to use this weekend in Norwalk. Millican and crew-chief David Grubnic will look for the same consistency they found on Friday night in Bristol this Friday night at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals.

 

Millican continues the hunt for his first Wally…

Millican has some impressive performance stats.  He has six consecutive World Championships and is noted as the winningest driver in IHRA history with 52 national event wins. He has more trophies and awards than he can count except for one – a famed Wally.  Millican and his team have set high goals for themselves including a NHRA championship but it all starts with one thing – a Wally.

 

Emotional weekend at Leffler’s Hall of Fame Induction…

When you become a racer your family automatically quadruples in size. It becomes a term that is no longer defined by the people you share blood with, but also by the people that you’ve shed blood, sweat and tears with on track. This past weekend team owner and family racing leader, Doug Stringer, was joined by other Stringer racing family members to honor one of our own, Jason Leffler, as he was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Leffler was tragically killed two years ago in a racing accident, but will remain a part of the Stringer racing family forever. In fact, Stringer Performance driver Clay Millican drives every race with a special Leffler decal located on the side of his Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster in memory of his fellow Great Clips Racing teammate.

 

About Doug Stringer and Stringer Performance

Stringer Motorsports owner Doug Stringer has a lengthy resume in the racing industry. His career essentially began in drag racing having served as general manager for Jim Epler’s Rug Doctor Funny Car in 1996. Eventually he made a business decision to move in to the rapidly growing world of NASCAR racing where a role as general manger turned into an ownership role of a highly successful NASCAR Xfinity Series team. After selling his team in 2006, he formed Stringer Holdings, a sports marketing agency that manages sponsorship and related marketing platforms for various companies in both NASCAR and NHRA.

 Longtime friends, Stringer and Millican have always talked about racing together and last fall the stars suddenly aligned.  Millican was looking for a team to call home in 2015 and Stringer had always desired to return to his roots in drag racing.  Having sponsor Parts Plus already in place with Millican made it a quick and easy decision and Stringer Performance was born. Stringer’s first order of business was the hiring of two essential people – David Grubnic as crew chief and Lance Larsen as general manager.

Thunder Valley Nationals Fast Facts

Millican breaks drought with round one win in New Hampshire…

The Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster was flying last weekend in New Hampshire! After matching up against some stiff first round competition the past few races, Millican and his Stringer Performance team let loose the beast during round one eliminations against J.R. Todd. A last second tuning decision by crew chief David Grubnic combined with Millican’s lightning speed reaction time off the light sent the team on to round two where they faced “The Sarge,” Tony Shumacher. While the team’s late start significantly diminished their turnaround time, they were undaunted and expertly got the Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster back together for round two. Grubnic once again tuned for weather and Millican expertly won the starting line advantage, but this time the Part Plus/ Great Clips dragster’s tires lost traction for a fraction of a second against Shumacher’s clean run.

 

Grubnic continues to improve Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster tuning…

Crew chief David Grubnic kept one eye on the weather and another on track conditions leading up to Sunday’s round one elimination. While Grubnic had originally planned to shoot for a 3.76 or 3.77 during round one eliminations on Sunday, an over hour long delay on their start time and increasing track heat led him to make some last second tuning decisions. Unbeknownst to the Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster’s driver, Clay Millican, Grubnic had made all the necessary adjustments to send the dragster rocketing down the track for a 3.822 second run at 322.42 mph. The run’s speed surprised Millican, especially on a day when many other cars were smoking their tires off the line or ending their run in a big oil-down, due to the heat. Base on the conditions and Grubnic’s impressive ability to nail the car’s tuning, Millican called the first round run at New Hampshire the team’s “run of the year…so far!”

 

Team banks on New Hampshire data paying off in Bristol…

The newly formed Stringer Performance team came into this season with a car and a dream. Ten races into the season, the team has finally obtained a nice swath of data to help in the tuning process of their Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster. While the team has been able to consistently run very strong numbers in cooler conditions, hotter weather has posed a bit of a problem. However, the tides began to turn at the New England Nationals. Crew chief David Grubnic made some expert calls as track conditions increased and they paid off, landing the team in round two of eliminations. Now with viable hot weather data in the arsenal, the team looks ahead to this weekend’s Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol for another big data payoff. A notoriously hot track, Thunder Valley will give the team another chance to fine tune their hot weather program before heading into the hottest portion of the racing season in the July.

 

Millican continues the hunt for his first Wally…

Millican has some impressive performance stats.  He has six consecutive World Championships and is noted as the winningest driver in IHRA history with 52 national event wins. He has more trophies and awards than he can count except for one – a famed Wally.  Millican and his team have set high goals for themselves including a NHRA championship but it all starts with one thing – a Wally.

 

Clay Millican on ending the eastern swing & Monster Jam World Tour…

 “The past few weeks out have been good. I think the team’s starting to get a handle on the hot weather conditions and that doesn’t do anything except boost my confidence in these guys. We’ve been able to consistently run the car really well in cold weather, but this past weekend in New Hampshire was where our hot weather program has really started clicking. My confidence it definitely up going into this weekend at Bristol.

Another aspect that has made the past few weeks extra exciting has been receiving updates from my youngest son, Dalton. He’s currently driving Blue Thunder on the Monster Jam World Tour. They’re just finishing up their time in Spain and then he’ll be heading over to Belgium next weekend. I haven’t got to talk to him a lot, but his mom and I have been getting a lot of pictures. It’s very gratifying as a parent to see your child living their dream and that’s something I’ve been fortunate to see both of my sons take the steps towards achieving.”

 

About Doug Stringer and Stringer Performance

Stringer Motorsports owner Doug Stringer has a lengthy resume in the racing industry. His career essentially began in drag racing having served as general manager for Jim Epler’s Rug Doctor Funny Car in 1996. Eventually he made a business decision to move in to the rapidly growing world of NASCAR racing where a role as general manger turned into an ownership role of a highly successful NASCAR Xfinity Series team. After selling his team in 2006, he formed Stringer Holdings, a sports marketing agency that manages sponsorship and related marketing platforms for various companies in both NASCAR and NHRA.

 Longtime friends, Stringer and Millican have always talked about racing together and last fall the stars suddenly aligned.  Millican was looking for a team to call home in 2015 and Stringer had always desired to return to his roots in drag racing.  Having sponsor Parts Plus already in place with Millican made it a quick and easy decision and Stringer Performance was born. Stringer’s first order of business was the hiring of two essential people – David Grubnic as crew chief and Lance Larsen as general manager.

Parts Plus / Great Clips Team Overcomes Sunday’s Hot Temps, Chalks Up Best Run of the Year (So Far) to Remain in Top 10

EPPING, N.H., June 14, 2015: With hot track conditions making life miserable for drivers and leading to delays during Sunday’s New England Nationals, Parts Plus/Great Clips crew chief Dave Grubnic began to rethink his team’s first-round strategy.

As part of the last pair of cars scheduled to run first round, Grubnic realized there would be a significant spike in temps by the time the Parts Plus/Great Clips Top Fuel driver Clay Millican left the line against J.R. Todd and the Red Line/Kalitta car.

Instead of the planned 3.76 or 3.77, Grubnic and the team made some last-minute adjustments to car—unbeknownst to Millican—learning from information gathered during Saturday’s qualifying miscues in the sweltering New Hampshire heat. With the delays, the Parts Plus/Great Clips car raced an hour and 15 minutes later than planned for first round. No one was more happily surprised than Millican with the result: a [email protected] mph, good enough to beat Todd’s 3.911 for the win light.

“Grubby really shocked me when I crossed the finish line,” he admits. “You have a brief instance when you can look up and see the scoreboard—I said to myself, ‘That thing said 3.82…no way.’ Almost every car in front of us smoked the tires and blew up after the first big oil-down because it got so hot, so quick. Sure enough…we went 3.82. Given those conditions, I’d have to say that was our run of the year so far.”

Not resting on their laurels, the Parts Plus/Great Clips team turned the car around very quickly for Millican’s second-round elimination showdown with Tony Schumacher.

“The guys did an amazing job getting the car ready for second round,” Millican says. “With all the delays and us being the last pair of cars, that meant our time was cut really short between rounds. And man, they knocked that thing out in plenty of time.”

This time, Grubnic was aiming for the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster to go 3.85, thinking it would be just enough to beat the U.S. Army car in the hot weather.

With an enthusiastic hospitality crowd from Network member Automotive Supply Associates and their loyal Sanel Auto Parts customers looking on, Millican launched hard to take the starting-line advantage and the lead. But the Parts Plus car started to smoke the tires around 300 feet, while Schumacher kept it hooked up for a clean pass for the win.

“We were well on our way to a 3.85, but the car just didn’t quite hold on,” Millican says. “But we’re still in the top 10 in points by winning first round and that’s our early-season goal.”

Most important, Grubnic and the crew picked up some valuable info that should prove beneficial as the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Series heads to Bristol for what should be another hot weekend.

“After Grubby looked at everything, I think he feels a lot better about where we are on our hot weather tune-up. The car runs great consistently when it’s cool out, but there’s still more work that needs to be done on our hot-weather setup. I believe we’re much, much closer toward that.

“Once again, we’re leaving the racetrack with a nice, clean and dry racecar, having made six runs this weekend with the same motor in the car. It’s been incredibly efficient; the parts are coming in on the car, looking really good and not hurting anything. That makes it easier for them to tune the car because the parts aren’t all torn up when they come out, so they can figure out what to do next.”

NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel Rankings

(Including New Hampshire)

  1. Antron Brown: 790
  2. Tony Schumacher: 757
  3. Spencer Massey: 657
  4. Richie Crampton: 640
  5. Larry Dixon Jr.: 600
  6. Doug Kalitta: 587
  7. Shawn Langdon: 568
  8. Brittany Force: 551
  9. R. Todd: 491
  10. 10.Clay Millican: 479

New England Nationals Fast Facts

One down – two to go on NHRA eastern swing…

The eastern swing of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series combines three consecutive races and marks the longest amount of time the newly formed Stringer Performance team will be out on the road. Going into the team’s first race, driver Clay Millican knew it was going to be a challenge unlike anything the young team has faced yet this season. Millican stated, “On the team side, this is a very big test for our guys. David Grubnic and Lance Larsen have been on these multi-week runs before, but most of our team is still relatively new to being out this long. We’re gone for three weeks. Did we get everything we need? Have we anticipated enough for potential problems? Those are some big factors that will come into play over the next three weeks.”  While Millican is mindful of the challenges any new team faces, he always focuses on the most important aspects of each race to get the right mentality for the weekend. Leading up to the first qualifying round at Englishtown, NJ – the first stop of the eastern swing – Millican’s main focus was getting down a racing rhythm that will carry him to the winner’s circle.

 

Millican holds on to championship point contention spot…

It started off as a great weekend for racing for Clay Millican and his Stringer Performance team. Millican’s Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster roared down the track on Friday night to the tune of a 3.76 second run at 320 mph. After qualifying early, Millican and Crew-chief David Grubnic decided to go all in on Saturday, but it wouldn’t stick that night or during Sunday’s eliminations. While Millican didn’t land in the winner’s circle during his first stop of the eastern swing, he has maintained a position in the point battle since the third race of the season.

 

Millican continues the hunt for his first Wally…

Millican has some impressive performance stats.  He has six consecutive World Championships and is noted as the winningest driver in IHRA history with 52 national event wins. He has more trophies and awards than he can count except for one – a famed Wally.  Millican and his team have set high goals for themselves including a NHRA championship but it all starts with one thing – a Wally.

 

About Doug Stringer and Stringer Performance

Stringer Motorsports owner Doug Stringer has a lengthy resume in the racing industry. His career essentially began in drag racing having served as general manager for Jim Epler’s Rug Doctor Funny Car in 1996. Eventually he made a business decision to move in to the rapidly growing world of NASCAR racing where a role as general manger turned into an ownership role of a highly successful NASCAR Xfinity Series team. After selling his team in 2006, he formed Stringer Holdings, a sports marketing agency that manages sponsorship and related marketing platforms for various companies in both NASCAR and NHRA.

 Longtime friends, Stringer and Millican have always talked about racing together and last fall the stars suddenly aligned.  Millican was looking for a team to call home in 2015 and Stringer had always desired to return to his roots in drag racing.  Having sponsor Parts Plus already in place with Millican made it a quick and easy decision and Stringer Performance was born. Stringer’s first order of business was the hiring of two essential people – David Grubnic as crew chief and Lance Larsen as general manager.

After Strong Qualifying Effort, Parts Plus / Great Clips Team Exits Early on Elimination Sunday

Englishtown, N.J., June 7, 2015: Clay Millican and the Parts Plus/Great Clips Top Fuel dragster roared into the 2015 Summernationals Friday night with two solid qualifying runs to set the tone for what appeared to be a promising weekend.

Lining up in the right lane Friday night opposite Steve Torrence, the popular Parts Plus driver turned in a good opening lap with a [email protected] mph. Millican’s incremental times: 60ft-0.846 sec.; 330ft-2.159; and 660ft-3.082/274.11 mph.

Showing what the car is capable of when everything’s clicking, Millican followed that up with a nice-looking pass in Q2 as Dave Stringer’s Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster went straight down the groove in the left lane for a [email protected] mph.

With qualifying practically assured, Parts Plus/Top Clips crew chief David Grubnic elected to swing for the fences on Saturday. The Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster came out aggressive in Q3 but the car slowed on the top end and coasted in for a [email protected] mph. After smoking the tires in Q4, Millican ended the day qualified 10th.

A hospitality crowd of 350 customers and employees of Network members Cal’s Auto Service of North Brunswick, N.J., New York’s Big City and Boston-based Automotive Hard Parts looked on as Millican lined up Sunday morning against the always-tough Spencer Massey.

Unfortunately, mechanical problems continued to dog the Parts Plus team. Racing on a 106-degree surface, the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster smoked the tires in E1 as soon as Millican hit the throttle, while Massey kept it hooked up for the win.

In an interview with National Dragster, Grubnic chalked up the weekend’s inconsistency as something the new team will have to endure to get better.

“We’re developing and progressing, but we still have to qualify, race, and fine-tune everything at the same time,” Grubnic said. “We have to go to the unhappy performance side from time to time to find the issues. You’ll see teeter-tottering in our performance until we get past the performance barriers. That being said, I wasn’t too thrilled with the inconsistency at the last two races. That’s where we’re at.”

Englishtown kicked off the beginning of the Parts Plus/Great Clips Top Fuel team’s first three-weekend stretch of the 2015 Mello Yello Series. Next up is New England, followed by a return to Bristol, Tenn.

Toyota Summer Nationals in Englishtown Fast Facts

Stringer Performance Fast Facts

 

Grubnic hones in engine program, moves on to clutch…

David Grubnic is not taking his new position on the NHRA circuit lightly. The former Top Fuel driver turned Stringer Performance Crew Chief has spent a great deal of time honing in the engine program for his team’s Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster over the past eight races. The newly formed Stringer Performance team is in their introductory season on the circuit and barely had a wrench for their tool box two months before the season opener in February. Grubnic and his right-hand man, Lance Larsen, have collected countless amounts of data to better understand how their dragster will perform in any given condition. The duo has translated that data into a better suited engine program for their dragster and their new team. The next challenge to tackle is better understand and implementing their clutch program. While the team has continued to make impressive runs throughout the early half of the season, they are still searching for the consistency that older teams have developed over time. The team will use the upcoming three races of the eastern swing to further develop their clutch program and gain consistency while on the road.

 

Millican keeps balanced in the point standings…

Clay Millican’s new Stringer Performance team is brimming with talent. The young team stormed onto the NHRA Drag Racing Series point list during the third race of the season and have held firm in their standings. Crew Chief, David Grubnic, comes into every race weekend with a plan and something new to learn about the team’s Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster. One of the team’s main tactics has been to break each race into a range of segments. Grubnic, Millican and Team Manager, Lance Larsen then analyze the data from those segments to see where they want or need to make changes. Fans of the team can often find Larsen jumping in on the mechanical side to help crew members, while Grubnic closely monitors the team’s computers for data shifts that require additional adjustments.

 

It’s a hometown race for the team’s two Jersey boys…

When the Stringer Performance team unloads their Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster at Englishtown this year, there will be a few extra special fans in attendance. Two of the team’s crew members called New Jersey home before taking to the road to chase their nitro-fueled dreams. Burlington Township native, John Gilbert, acts as a clutch assistant and handles tires for the team. While his fellow former Jersey boy and Closter native, Anthony Fragola, maintains the dragster’s blower and manifold. The two teammates are looking forward to getting their dragster into the Finals and raising a Wally in front of their families and hometown crowd this weekend.

 

Mother Nature rules in Topeka and racers bring the speed…

All the planning in the world cannot always prepare you for one of Mother Nature’s curve balls, and the Kansas Nationals proved this fact once again. Crew chief, David Grubnic, had spent the week leading up to Topeka prepping for super-hot conditions similar to what the team faced in Atlanta – then it rained. Suddenly temps shifted favorably for a very fast weekend and that’s exactly what fans of the Kansas Nationals got. Clay Millican in his Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster stormed the track in Q1 posting a solid 3.790 at 316.30 mph to land him in the show on Sunday. After knowing they were securely qualified on Friday, the team decided to push it all in for the top qualifier spot and stuck a solid 3.772 at 321.50 mph during their only pass on Saturday. Rain showers moved into the area before Q4 and Millican had to settle for the tenth spot going into Sunday, which landed him against defending event champion, Spencer Massey. Unfortunately the odds were not in Millican’s favor, as he shook the tires right off the line against Massey’s fastest time of the weekend. After event points were tallied, Millican remains in Championship contention with a firm hold on the ninth spot.

 

Millican continues the hunt for his first Wally…

Millican has some impressive performance stats.  He has six consecutive World Championships and is noted as the winningest driver in IHRA history with 52 national event wins. He has more trophies and awards than he can count except for one – a famed Wally.  Millican and his team have set high goals for themselves including a NHRA championship but it all starts with one thing – a Wally.

 

Clay Millican on the eastern swing…

 “Going into the three week back to back to back races of the eastern swing as a driver is just awesome. You have the chance to really work on your repetition and get that rhythm going to really make everything behind the wheel second nature. On the team side, this is a very big test for our guys. Grubby and Lance have been on these multi-week runs before, but most of our team is still relatively new to being out this long. We’re gone for three weeks. Did we get everything we need? Have we anticipated enough for potential problems? Those are some big factors that will come into play over the next three weeks. However, the most important thing we have to focus on as a team is that we get three consecutive weeks to move our Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster higher in the points and get that first win. The Wally is right out there for us to get and we’ve made some great strides towards bringing it home. Over the next three weeks, our team gets to laser in on that goal and at the end of this eastern swing we hope to roll back to our shop in McLeansboro, Illinois with some shiny new hardware.”