Why We Love Clay | The Man Behind the Wheel

Why We Love Clay | The Man Behind the Wheel

David Straughan
4 minute read

Earlier this month, we at Strutmasters decided to up our sponsorship of Clay Millican and the Stringer Performance Racing Team. While it was a very easy decision for us, we wanted to share some of the reasons why we decided to “go all in” on our favorite Top Fuel driver and team.

His Incredible Story

By all accounts Millican has had a love for drag racing his entire life. From the time he was 16, Clay raced cars as a hobby throughout his adult life. While he was campaigning an IHRA Modified eliminator entry, Clay worked as a forklift driver for Kroger supermarkets. It was at this time that he caught the eye of Peter Lehman, an investor who chose him to drive his Top Fuel Dragster car. Not being one to waste an opportunity, Clay started winning immediately. His love and enthusiasm for the sport was contagious. He quickly became a fan favorite and one of the sport’s rising stars. The rest is history.

Triumph Over Tragedy

The Tennessee-born driver's passion for racing extends into his family. Dalton, one of Clay and his wife Donna Millican's sons, was already establishing himself in the racing world at a young age. He raced ATVs and was the owner/driver of Blue Thunder truck in the Monster Jam series. In August, 2015, Dalton passed away at the age of 22 in a motorcycle accident. His passing sent shockwaves throughout the sport. NHRA president Peter Clifford saying, “Clay is a well-liked and well-respected racer with all the competitors in the NHRA. This loss will be felt by everyone in our sport.” Since that time, Clay and Donna have dedicated much of their off time to improving the lives of young people around the country. A little more than a year after Dalton’s death, Millican announced the creation of the Dalton Millican Scholarship. The scholarship awards $2,500 to two students each year towards tuition at the University of Northwestern Ohio’s College of Applied Technologies, Automotive/ High Performance Degree Program. Millican has also been a major proponent of the safe teen driving program known as BRAKES. The NHRA world was brought to tears when Clay won his first ever national NHRA event at the Thunder Valley Nationals on Father’s Day, June 18th, 2017.

Forever Fearless

As much of a good guy as he is off the track, one might be hard-pressed to find someone as ferocious and fearless as Clay Millican on it. Adorned on Clay's t-shirts and other merchandise is the motto, “Stomp that loud pedal!” Ask anyone who’s followed the sport for any amount of time and they will tell you that that motto has been well-earned. Brian Lohnes, part of the NHRA’s Mello Yello Series broadcast team said of Millican, “Clay is as kind and fiercely competitive a man as you’ll ever meet. You don’t go from being a forklift operator to a Top Fuel racer on luck. You do it on guts, heart, and ability.”

A True Fan Favorite

Every once in a while, a sport has an athlete that completely captivates the fan base. Through some magical combination of charisma, skill, and success, fan favorites often go beyond the scope of the sport. In the world of the NHRA, where many fans feel a close connection to the athletes, none are as beloved as Clay Millican. Maybe it’s his story. Maybe it’s that smile. Maybe it’s that he wins and wins and wins. Whatever “it” is, Millican has it in spades. We’ve been fans for a long time and now we get to part of the team. It’s more than just an honor, it’s a dream come true. Here's to even more success in the future! STOMP THAT LOUD PEDAL!! Catch Clay Millican and the Strutmasters-sponsored car this weekend at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

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