Clay Millican Deserves a Bigger Spotlight; This Season He May Get One
This year’s third-place finisher in the NHRA Clay Millican is known around the racing world for two things: peeling the pavement with record-setting runs and his infectiously positive attitude. Within the world of racing, Millican is an absolute fan favorite. It’s easy to see why.
“Stomp That Loud Pedal”In many ways, he embodies the spirit of the fun-loving and family-friendly spirit of the NHRA. On the track, Millican is fearless. His catch phrase, “stomp on that loud pedal” truly captures his strategy. Punch it hard, drive as fast as possible. No need to complicate things. His car stays tuned wide open. Sometimes so much that it bursts into flames. Millican’s aggressive approach to Top Fuel racing is everything a fan could want: a bit cowboy, a bit reckless, and absolutely thrilling to witness. Off the track, Clay is almost the polar opposite; a humble, neighborly husband and father who is just happy to be living the dream. “Down to earth” doesn’t even begin to describe Millican. He went from driving a forklift to being perhaps the most dominant driver in IHRA history. Even after winning six out of seven IHRA championships and several events in his NHRA career, he lives a relatively quiet life in the town he grew up in. Millican spends a great deal of his down time doing charity work and teaching road safety and driving courses. He takes time to respond to fans on Twitter. In short, Millican is everything we want our sports heroes to be.
A Growing SportThe Drummonds, Tennessee native and his team have stayed busy in the off-season. While his easy-going nature and Southern gentleman manners may prevent him from saying it out loud, there is only one goal for the 2019 season: an NHRA Championship. Winning the championship this year could propel Millican to a new level of stardom. Clay’s rise to prominence coincides with steady growth in the sport’s popularity. After moving from FS1 to FOX, the NHRA more than doubled its viewership on the year. FOX’s Spanish-language sports channel FOX Deportes even broadcast several races last season, with plans to broadcast more this season.
Face of the Franchise?Nothing helps a sport boom in popularity like a star athlete. In Clay Millican, the NHRA has one in the making. Millican’s story is almost too incredible to be true. For the unfamiliar, here’s the short version: While working as a forklift driver for Kroger, Millican competed in the IHRA. He was noticed by investor Peter Lehman who asked him to drive his Top Fuel Car. Soon after, Millican took the IHRA by storm and won six championships in seven years. Following this success, he moved over to the NHRA. Then, in 2015 tragedy struck as Millican’s son Dalton passed away in a motorcycle accident at the age of 22. That tragedy, however, gave way to triumph two years later. In a moment that seemed made for TV, Millican won his first ever NHRA event on none other than Father’s Day. Since then, Millican has been on an absolute tear. He’s set track records, won two more events, and was within striking distance of 2018 champion Steve Torrence all season. As the NHRA looks to expand its reach even further this season, it would be smart to turn the spotlight to Millican and his infectious smile. At a time when even sports divides people, Clay Millican is someone we can all root for.
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