#AskClaysCrew – David Grubnic – Tune Up Models

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Clay Millican / Stringer Performance Fast Facts: NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, KS May 20 – May 22, 2016

Stringer Performance Fast Facts

 

 

2016 Season

  • 6th standings
  • 7 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 #1 qualifier
  • 1 finals
  • 4 semi-finals
  • 4 round two appearances
  • 7 round one appearances

 

 

NHRA Career

  • 226 career starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 #1 qualifiers
  • 3.722 best E.T.
  • 327.27 best speed

 

Millican helps usher in new WELD Wheels facility expansion…

Clay Millican and sponsor WELD Wheels have a successful partnership that goes back several years. In 2015, Millican and his Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH dragster were the first Top Fuel team to run the new Delta-1 wheels in Chicago. On Thursday, May 19th, WELD will hold an open house to celebrate the expansion of their Kansas City facility.  Millican along with other NHRA drivers will be on hand at the event to tour the new facility and meet with the talented manufacturers at WELD. In addition to Millican’s appearance, his fellow Great Clips Racing teammate Kasey Kahne’s #5 Great Clips Chevy will also be on display at the open house.

 

Millican and Grubnic look secure first win in Topeka…

After an incredibly close first round loss in Atlanta, Clay Millican and Parts Plus/ Great Clips/ UNOH crew chief David Grubnic are ready to bring the speed in Kansas. The team was able to complete some warmer weather clutch testing on Saturday in Atlanta before overcoming one of their greatest hurdles on Sunday with an unreliable fuel pump. The new team pulled together and made their fastest pass of the weekend, but couldn’t pull off the win. That’s not something Millican or Grubnic are looking to repeat this weekend at the Kansas Nationals.

Not only did Atlanta teach the young team that their perseverance pays off, but it made them even more hungry for their first win. The Heartland Park track in Topeka is one that Grubnic has solidified some of his greatest career achievements, winning his first race as a driver at the track in 2005 and simultaneously becoming the first racer born outside North America to win a Top Fuel race. Once again this weekend, Millican and Grubnic will race to notch another first-time victory in the history books of Topeka.

 

Quote from Clay Millican on the weekend ahead in Topeka…

“We might be on our way to Kansas this weekend, but we’re not looking for Dorothy or the Wicked Witch. We’re on the hunt for our first Wally and that’s what I am planning to bring home. Last weekend the team pulled together to make our first round run against some incredible odds. I think it’s an experience that has made these guys want their first win even more than before, and I didn’t think wanting it any more than we already did was possible.”

 

About Stringer Performance

Established in 2015, Stringer Performance is entering its second year of competition in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with veteran Top Fuel driver Clay Millican. Owned by Doug Stringer who has a lengthy resume in the racing industry in both NHRA and NASCAR, the team is based in McLeansboro, IL where Stringer resides. The team is led by crew chief David Grubnic, a former NHRA Top Fuel driver turned tuner, and general manager Lance Larsen. Stringer Performance proudly boasts a solid lineup of marketing partners including marquee partners: Parts Plus, Great Clips, UNOH and Weld Racing.

That’s the Way It Flows: Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH Team Overcomes Fuel-Flow Problem But Loses a Close One to Brittany Force

ATLANTA, May 16, 2016 — Clay Millican and the Stringer Performance team were back in action this weekend at Atlanta Dragway for the NHRA Southern Nationals.  After closing out four rounds of qualifying, Millican was sitting 11th going into Sunday’s eliminations but a fuel-flow issue reared its head and cost the team a round one win.

Millican hit the track in the Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH dragster on Friday for qualifying.  After smoking the tires in Q1, Millican bounced back with a respectable 3.868 second run at 312.64 mph in Q2.

With track conditions rising to 128 degrees Saturday, crew chief David Grubnic elected to take advantage of the hot temps to test new equipment in preparation for the summer months ahead.

“Grubby put a different clutch on the car, and he changed the way the clutch operates,” Millican explained. “We tested it on Saturday and went straight down the track on both runs. It was nothing stellar, but we were not too far behind the head of the pack in those two runs.”

Officially, Millican ran a 3.910 at 315.42 mph in Q3, and a 3.872 at 312.64 mph to close out qualifying in the 11th slot.

As the team prepared to line up against Brittany Force on Sunday morning, the crew changed the fuel pump on the Parts Plus/Great Clip/UNOH dragster. This relatively simple repair is also vital to the car’s performance. When Millican warmed up the car he noticed the dragster had a fuel leak, which is unusual with a fresh pump.

“There’s a number on the dash that I look at called the fuel flow. I adjusted that, but I still could not get it to the number we wanted,” Millican said. “We cut the car off because we had a leak and the team fixed it. Then we started the car back up and I still couldn’t get the fuel-flow number. I had the fuel pump wide open and just couldn’t get it. That’s when we started getting anxious. The team put the old fuel pump back on the car, which is not that difficult, but it’s still a pretty big job when you consider everything hooked up to the pump. We get it on, crank it up again, and the fuel flow is still wrong. At that point we obviously know something else is happening.”

With the problem still not resolved and the minutes growing very short, Millican put on his fire suit and helmet. NHRA officials then escorted the team thru the thinning crowd in the pits to the staging area to make their run as scheduled.

“We rolled up there like the cavalry,” Millican said. “They told Brittany’s team we weren’t going to hold them up, but they needed to start first. When there’s not enough fuel flow the engine gets really hot, really fast. After Brittany warmed up, we did an abbreviated burnout, backed up, staged and off we went. I have to admit, I thought the engine might blow up at any second.”

Much to Millican’s surprise, the Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH dragster roared straight down the track, running an impressive 3.785 at 320.74 mph. The run was his quickest time of the weekend. Force, however, was just a bit faster with her 3.765 at 319.28 mph edging Millican’s best.

The cause of the fuel-flow problem? A piece of rubber O-ring got stuck in a bypass port. “That’s how I set the fuel flow and this little piece of O-ring found its way in there. Now, how it got in there is anybody’s guess, but such a simple little thing caused us big problems! That’s just racing for ya. We actually ran pretty dang good, but we just got beat in a great drag race” Millican said.

 

NHRA Top Fuel Points (Following Atlanta)

1          Doug Kalitta               586

2          Antron Brown             522

3          Brittany Force           518

4          Steve Torrence         474

5          J.R. Todd                   418

6          Clay Millican               387

 

Next Race

Topeka, Kansas

May 20–22

 

Clay Millican/ Stringer Performance Fast Facts NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals in Atlanta, GA

Clay Millican/ Stringer Performance Fast Facts

NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals in Atlanta, GA

May 13 – May 15, 2016

 

Stringer Performance Fast Facts

 

2016 Season

  • 5th in standings
  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 #1 qualifier
  • 1 finals
  • 4 semi-finals
  • 4 round two appearances
  • 6 round one appearances

 

 

NHRA Career

  • 225 career starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 #1 qualifiers
  • 3.722 best E.T.
  • 327.27 best speed

Millican to drive special Akins 50th anniversary dragster in Atlanta…

The Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH dragster is getting a little makeover for this weekend in Atlanta. Clay Millican’s Top Fuel dragster will be sporting a special celebration decal for Akins Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep & RAM’s 50th year in business.

The sponsorship from Akins is one that is very close to team owner, Doug Stringer. In the early 1990s Brad Akins formed the NASCAR team Akins Motorsports, and in 1998 he hired a young Doug Stringer as the team’s general manager. Stringer began his very successful partnership with Great Clips in 2000 and Great Clips Racing was born. Eventually, Stringer assumed full ownership of Akins Motorsports in 2005 before later merging with Braun Racing. Today, Stringer still manages the Great Clips Racing program and has formed a new team on the NHRA circuit, Stringer Performance. This weekend in Atlanta, Stringer will once again race with his friend and mentor, Brad Akins, as they celebrate many years of continued friendship and success.

 

Millican and Doug Herbert continue B.R.A.K.E.S mission…

The two former rivals joined forces again this week to bring attention to Herbert’s B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) program. This time the venue was Munford High School near Millican’s hometown of Drummonds, TN. The duo is completing a number of stops to encourage Memphis area students to attend the B.R.A.K.E.S. program this August at Memphis International Raceway.

Last week Millican did a solo visit to Tipton-Rosemark Academy, also near his hometown, to speak to students about the important skills they can learn at the program. With over 5,000 teenage fatalities each year due to traffic accidents, the Teen Pro-Active Driving and Accident Avoidance courses taught during the B.R.A.K.E.S. program can help reduce those numbers. If you haven’t signed your kids up, go towww.putonthebrakes.org to sign up for a class near you!

 

Stringer Performance to launch “Ask Clay’s Crew” video series…

In conjunction with sponsors Parts Plus, Great Clips and UNOH, Stringer Performance has developed a new video web series that will feature members of Top Fuel driver Clay Millican’s crew answering fan questions on a variety of topics from working on a Top Fuel dragster to living in a small rural farming community in Southern Illinois. The video series titled “Ask Clay’s Crew” will launch next week ahead of the Kansas Nationals along with a biography section on each crew member on StringerPerformance.com.

Fans can submit questions for the team to answer in future videos online by using #AskClaysCrew!

 

Quote from Clay Millican on the weekend ahead in Atlanta…

“Atlanta is not only a track I am familiar with, but it’s a place I’ve been to the finals. I know what that feels like on this track. Our car has been running great this entire season. Houston may not have gone the way we really wanted things to go, but each of those is an opportunity to learn something new about this car. I know this team is ready to go out there and win. Looking at Atlanta, this is a race we could go out there and make that happen.”

 

About Stringer Performance

Established in 2015, Stringer Performance is entering its second year of competition in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with veteran Top Fuel driver Clay Millican. Owned by Doug Stringer who has a lengthy resume in the racing industry in both NHRA and NASCAR, the team is based in McLeansboro, IL where Stringer resides. The team is led by crew chief David Grubnic, a former NHRA Top Fuel driver turned tuner, and general manager Lance Larsen. Stringer Performance proudly boasts a solid lineup of marketing partners including marquee partners: Parts Plus, Great Clips, UNOH and Weld Racing.

Purple Pain No. 3 Qualifier Clay Millican, Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH Team Endure 1st-Round Loss in Houston

HOUSTON, May 2, 2016: Nearly everything was going as planned for Clay Millican at the Royal Purple Raceway over the weekend until another driver’s freaky fireball threw the Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH team an unexpected curve at the Spring Nationals in Houston.

 

The Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH Top Fuel dragster came roaring out of the gate Friday in qualifying with a straight run right down the middle of the track, clocking a 3.783 @ 321.42 mph.

 

“We felt so good about the first run that we tuned it up for what we refer to as the homerun session, and we knocked it out of the park in Q2,” Millican says.

 

Officially, Millican ran a [email protected] mph in the second round of qualifying to finish Friday in the No. 3 spot.

 

On Saturday, temperatures were soaring at the track when the crew noted some additional maintenance that needed to be completed on the car. Millican and crew chief David Grubnic chose to sit out Q3 in order to take care of the maintenance items.

 

“The fact that we were already qualified after those strong runs on Friday made the decision really easy for us.”

 

The team once again swung for the fences in Q4 but smoked the tires. Nonetheless, they remained the No. 3 qualifier heading into Sunday.

 

Millican elected to be part of the second pair to race Sunday, facing off against Leah Pritchett, who qualified 14th. As Millican and Pritchett waited in the staging area, Terry McMillen’s car exploded in a huge fireball that sent the whole supercharger assembly flying.

 

What was initially supposed to be a 15-minute stoppage for the NHRA Safety Safari to clear the dragstrip turned into a 45-minute delay, with the warm weather heating up the track fast. Just before McMillen’s explosion, the track temperature was 88 degrees. By the time Millican and Pritchett ran, the track temperature had soared to more than 100 degrees.

 

“We went out there aiming for another 3.74, and we just shook the tires loose. It’s disappointing because we came out this morning feeling awesome. Afterward, Grubby [Grubnic] was disappointed with himself for not being aggressive enough with the changes, but the bottom line is we spun the tires.”

 

Even with his Round One elimination, Millican remains in the top five in Top Fuel points heading into Atlanta. It’s a point position that Millican remains proud of because it reflects the Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH team’s efforts and attitude.

 

“After Sunday they were so upset they were ready to head to Atlanta right then, but we have to wait a bit,” Millican said. “The boys have been so on it this year. We have run the same short block and crank for two straight races, which is almost unheard of in these cars. It’s coming out now because it’s time to change the crankshaft, but we went to the final round in Charlotte with this short block and all the way through qualifying to first round here in Houston. It’s just crazy how well Grubby and the boys are maintaining everything.”

 

As the Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH team restocks inventory and prepares for the Southern Nationals, Millican will be speaking to about 2,000 Tennessee high-school kids in Millington, Munford, and Brighton over the next two weeks, reviewing safe teen-driving practices as part of the B.R.A.K.E.S program with Doug Herbert.

 

“This is an issue that’s near and dear to my heart, and I think we’re going to help a lot of kids become better, safer drivers.”

 

 

Top Fuel Point Standings (following Houston’s SpringNationals)

 

  1. Brittany Force: 464
  2. Doug Kalitta: 463
  3. Antron Brown: 445
  4. Steve Torrence: 417
  5. Clay Millican: 355
  6. J.R. Todd: 316
  7. Tony Schumacher: 295
  8. Leah Pritchett: 291
  9. Richie Crampton: 275
  10. 10.Terry McMillen: 259

 

Next Race

May 13–15

Southern Nationals

Atlanta Dragway