Sonoma Nationals Fast Facts

Millican’s redemption in Denver…

Before the team even touched down in Denver, it was the race Millican’s own crew chief, David Grubnic, characterized as “the most challenging event of the year.” High altitude, thin air and soaring temperatures could have spelled trouble, but Millican and his Stringer Performance team took to the track like they’ve been racing here for years.

The team perfectly executed Grubnic’s plan to add more compression and take away a lot of fuel in order to combat the track’s high altitude and low oxygen. It was clear in qualifying that the team was prepared, as the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster went straight down the racetrack three of out four times. The highlight came in Saturday’s Q4, when Millican made his quickest pass of the weekend with a [email protected] to put the team in the 10th qualifying spot.

On Sunday, Millican faced off against Dave Connolly in the first round of eliminations. Both cars shook the tires, but Millican was able to hang on for the win.  For the second round of eliminations, Millican lined up against Steve Torrence for what turned out to be one of the best races of the weekend. Unfortunately, Millican’s [email protected] mph was just edged out by Torrence’s [email protected] to win by a margin of 0.0524 seconds (approximately 24 feet).

 

Millican qualifies for fan vote in Traxxas Shootout at Indy…

Millican may still be sitting just outside the fence, in 11th place, for a spot in the upcoming Countdown to the Championship point battle. However, he’s got a chance to clinch a spot in the Traxxas Shootout held during the U.S. Nationals in Indy – with his fan’s help. The final spot of the shootout is reserved for the driver who receives the most amount of fan votes, during the open voting period on the NHRA’s Facebook page.

Fan voting for this year’s Traxxas Shootout will begin immediately following the conclusion of the race at Brainerd and will last until Noon on Tuesday September 1st, the day before the NHRA Fan Fest in Indy.

Keep a lookout on Clay Millican/ Stringer Performance social media channels and on StringerPerformance.com for additional voting information.

 

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.

36th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals – Fast Facts

Millican set on redemption in Denver…

Millican and his Stringer Performance team are ready to get back to work after taking a few days off leading into the western swing that kicks off in Denver this weekend. The team, joined by Millican, spent a few days in shop before their break to go over their Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster after suffering a broken steering rack that helped cut short their run in Chicago the weekend before.

The team had spent Friday of the Chicago race debuting and testing their new D-1 WELD wheel, and only missed solidifying a place in the show by one spot with their fastest time of the day a 3.91 that went straight down the track. With spirits high, the team refocused on making it to the show with two solid runs on Saturday. However, Mother Nature had other plans.

On Saturday afternoon, as Millican took the light, the car lurched and drifted to the left. He attempted to correct the unexpected left movement but unfortunately smoked the tires as the car sustained a violent left to right reaction.  Upon returning to the pit area, the team diagnosed that the steering rack had broken.  Millican’s Stringer Performance team went into action making the appropriate repairs before the last qualifying run that afternoon, but the weather didn’t hold out. The final qualifying session was cancelled Saturday evening, resulting in the first DNQ of the year for the newly formed team.

With almost two weeks to process the Chicago race, Millican and his team are set on redemption this weekend in the Mile High City. While the altitude poses a new series of challenges for the young team, crew chief David Grubnic has been tirelessly gathering data on the performance of the Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster across a wide swath of  weather conditions. However, Grubnic says, “Denver is obviously our most challenging event. Not only do we deal with high altitude, but the temperature can be well into the 90s. This makes the air extremely thin and difficult for the engines to make power. The good part from a tuning standpoint is that everyone is facing the same amount of challenges.”

 

Millican looks to take back spot in the championship point standings…

A broken steering rack and mother nature may have combined to sideline Millican in Chicago, but he’s not letting it get him or his Stringer Performance team down. Millican has spent the majority of the season holding on to a spot in the championship point standings. However, after Chicago Millican fell just 16-points short of staying in the top ten. This weekend Millican aims to take back his spot in the championship race as the teams’ head into the first stop of the western swing at Denver.

 

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.

Clay Millican Endures First DNQ of Season at Chicago’s Route 66 Nationals

JOLIET, ILLINOIS: After making a memorable run at the semis in Norwalk, Mother Nature was not on the side of Parts Plus/Great Clips driver Clay Millican this weekend in the Windy City.

Millican also reached the semis last year in Chicago, so he had plenty of reasons to be optimistic upon returning to one of his favorite tracks for Friday’s first round of qualifying.

“I raced my first Top Fuel event right here on this track, so this place is pretty special to me,” Millican says.

With the debut of the new D-1 WELD wheel on the Stringer Performance Top-Fuel dragster for the first time, Millican and his team spent Friday’s qualifying sessions as a mini test session.  After posting a fast time of 3.91 for the day, the team was listed as 13th fastest – promising but one position short of being locked into the field.  Feeling very positive, they turned their focus to Saturday.

With over 400 guests in hospitality, the team was ready to put on a show.

With daunting weather in the forecast, the team readied for their first qualifying run of the day but as they did their routine warm-up Millican noticed a slight problem with the steering of his Parts Plus/ Great Clips dragster.  With little time left on the clock, he headed out to the staging area and lined up on the track.  As he took the light, the car lurched and drifted to the left. Millican attempted to correct the unexpected left movement but unfortunately smoked the tires as the car sustained a violent left to right reaction of the car.  Upon returning to the put area, the team diagnosed that the steering rack had broken.  The team went into action making the appropriate repairs before the last qualifying that afternoon.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not on Millican’s side and the final qualifying session was cancelled. It was a ‘perfect storm” that resulted in the first DNQ of the year.

“I was yanking on the wheel, but it didn’t do what I wanted it to do. It’s hard to drive when they won’t go where you’re pointing them. When the front end came down, I needed to turn it, and the thing just didn’t wanna turn. It just continued on to the left and out of the groove and smoked the tires. I learned the hard way there’s no traction over there by the centerline!”

The unfortunate circumstances knocked Millican out of the top-10 in Top Fuel points.

Millican will have plenty of opportunities to reclaim his top 10 spot when the Parts Plus/Great Clips team heads to Denver for the start of the annual West Coast Swing in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.

Stringer Performance Fast Facts Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Chicago, IL

Millican makes it to the semi-finals in Norwalk…

Millican and his newly formed Stringer Performance will always remember their first weekend together at Norwalk as an example of perseverance and triumph. The young team met challenges early on during qualifying on Friday and earlySaturday before landing a solid position in the show by running a 3.851 at 316.60 mph in Q4. On Sunday, the team regrouped and set out to win.

The Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster lined up for E1 against No. 5 qualifier Spencer Massey, who was 13-1 against Millican in previous events, including two wins this year. Not on this day. Massey smoked the tires, while the Stringer Performance-owned car went straight down the groove for a 3.868 at 315.71, earning Millican a much-needed win as the Parts Plus/Great Clips team looks to maintain their top 10 ranking in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings.

For E2, Millican gave up lane choice to Larry Dixon, a three-time Top Fuel champion and a two-time Norwalk winner, who broke the track’s speed record in E1 with a 3.757 at 332.51 mph.  The Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster seized the starting-line advantage, but Dixon took the lead until he smoked the tires at the midway point. Millican went straight down the track for his second win light of the day with a 3.983 despite the Parts Plus car putting a cylinder out.

Stringer Performance crew chief Dave Grubnic knew the car would have to be much faster to win a semi-final matchup with Doug Kalitta, so he aimed for Millican to run a 3.86. As a live ESPN audience looked on, Kalitta’s Mac Tools Dragster took the win and a spot in the finals with a 3.849 to Millican’s 3.879.

While Millican’s time wasn’t good enough to beat Kalitta, the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster did put up a better number than the other two semi-finalists in a strong effort. Kalitta went to win the Norwalk event, beating Antron Brown in the finals.

 

Millican returns to where his NHRA career started in Chicago…

Seventeen years ago Clay Millican began the journey of a life-time when he sat behind the wheel of a Chicago White Sox sponsored Top Fuel car and launched down the track at the Route 66 Raceway in Chicagoland.  This year Millican plans for things to go a lot different than they did on his first time down the Route 66 track. Coming off of their impressive showing in Norwalk, Millican’s  Stringer Performance team has stayed on the road to allow optimal time in getting set up for the race weekend ahead.

 

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 reaching semis in Norwalk and looking to Chicago…

 “Norwalk has always been one of my favorite tracks. I’ve won there in the past during my IHRA days and the fan atmosphere there is just incredible. We came into the weekend with a few bumps, but our crew chief David Grubnic got things to fly right on the final pass in Q4 to land a nice slot in the show on Sunday. Grubby didn’t want to push the car and felt confident that we could run in the 3.86 range and that’s what we did. It didn’t may not have ended with us in the winner’s circle, but this weekend really showed the perseverance of our team. We needed this boost not only in helping us to maintain our spot in the points bracket, but also rolling into Chicago. The Chicago track will always be special to me because it’s the first place I raced a Top Fuel car in an NHRA race. I’m not usually good with my own statistics, but I can tell you I made my Top Fuel debut there in 1998. With that type of history at the track and our team owner, Doug Stringer, and the entire Stringer Performance operations being based in Illinois this would be a really special weekend to bring home that first 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.

Parts Plus / Great Clips Dragster Reaches Semis Over Fourth of July Weekend

NORWALK, OHIO, July 6, 2015: The Bader family’s Fourth of July celebration lit up the northern Ohio sky with an awesome fireworks show on Saturday, while Parts Plus/Great Clips driver Clay Millican turned in an explosive performance of his own Sunday at northern Ohio’s Summit Motorsports Park.

The Parts Plus/Great Clips Top Fuel team shook off a rough start to qualify 12th with a last-ditch effort of [email protected] mph in Q4. Earlier, Millican’s car put out a cylinder in Q1 and Q3, while the Q2 highlight was a rather impressive wheelie.

“The track conditions were great since all the qualifying sessions were held at night, so we came out really aggressively trying to put up a good number,” Millican explains. “In the end, though, we had to settle for just getting the car to go down the racetrack in Q4 so we could qualify. Wasn’t anything spectacular, but we did qualify.”

After the last car ran in qualifying, the Parts Plus/Great Clips team took a moment to enjoy the Baders’ spectacular fireworks show along with a sea of fans wearing red, white and blue.

“I’ve got a lot of history at this track, going back to my IHRA days,” Millican says. “The Bader family does a great job hosting the event and they treat the fans very well. Where else can you buy a pound of ice cream for a $1?”

On Sunday morning, the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster lined up for E1 against No. 5 qualifier Spencer Massey, who was 13-1 against Millican in previous events, including two wins this year. Not on this day. Massey smoked the tires, while the Stringer Performance-owned car went straight down the groove for a [email protected], earning Millican a much-needed win as the Parts Plus/Great Clips team looks to maintain their top 10 ranking in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings.

“Those Schumacher team cars are some of the best in the business, but our car did exactly what we wanted it do,” Millican says. “Turning on the win light was big because Steve Torrence, who we are locked in a super-tight battle with in points for the 10th spot, beat JR Todd in first round. JR is ahead of us in the 9th spot, so that put us one step closer to him.”

For E2, Millican gave up lane choice to Larry Dixon, a three-time Top Fuel champion and a two-time Norwalk winner, who broke the track’s speed record in E1 with a [email protected] mph.

The Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster seized the starting-line advantage, but Dixon took the lead until he smoked the tires at the midway point. Millican went straight down the track for his second win light of the day with a 3.983 despite the Parts Plus car putting a cylinder out.

“I wouldn’t say we were blistering quick or anything, but it got the job done,” Millican says.

Parts Plus/Great Clips crew chief Dave Grubnic knew the car would have to be much faster to win a semi-final matchup with Doug Kalitta, so he aimed for Millican to run a 3.86.

As a live ESPN2 audience looked on, Kalitta’s Mac Tools Dragster took the win and a spot in the finals with a 3.849 to Millican’s 3.879.

While Millican’s time wasn’t good enough to beat Kalitta, the Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster did put up a better number than the other two semi-finalists in a strong effort. Kalitta went to win the Norwalk event, beating Antron Brown in the finals.

“We went up there thinking a 3.86 would take the win,” Millican says. “We ran pretty much what we wanted to, but the Kalitta camp put down a solid 3.84 run and beat us. Nothing to hang our heads about.”

Millican was especially pleased with his team’s confidence heading into the semis.

“The team really wanted the challenge of meeting that turnaround time of 55 minutes for the finals on live TV. Our team was still pretty new when we went to the finals in Charlotte back in March, which was also live TV. That was pretty dang stressful for our guys to get the car turned around for the final. Today, though, they were really looking forward to it. We didn’t get that opportunity today, but this team is more than ready for it.”

Most important, the Parts Plus/Great Clips team maintained their 10th position in the standings with 511 points, behind JR Todd at 9th with 563. Millican will look to close the gap when the NHRA Top Fuel series travels to Chicago later this week.

“I can’t wait to get back out there. The crew guys would hate me for saying this, but if it were up to me, we would do every race consecutively. I drive the baddest roller coaster on the planet, and it sure is fun.”