Clay Millican and Crew Chief Mike Kloeber Back Together for 2019 Season

As the 2018 NHRA Top Fuel season comes to a close, the Stringer Performance Racing team and Clay Millican have already begun looking to the future.

The team has decided to reunite Millican with crew chief Mike Kloeber for the 2019 season. Kloeber and Millican worked together in the IHRA and built an impressive record together. The duo won six world championships and 50 events in just seven years.

That’s the kind of success Straightline Strategy Group, the ownership group behind the Parts Plus Top Fuel Dragster driven by Clay Millican, hopes will translate to the NHRA.


Millican and Kloeber Have Their Eyes on the Prize

Kloeber says that his own expectations for next season are sky high:

“Getting a call from Doug Stringer with the opportunity to race with this team provides a path to conclude some unfinished business for us all — winning a NHRA Mello Yello Championship,” said Kloeber.

Millican enters the final weekend of the season in second place, having notched two wins in 2018. He is fully aware of the implications of bringing a winning formula back together.

“I’m excited to go back and work with Mike again,” said Millican. “We have a lot of history together and are looking to make more.”


The Bigger Picture


Doug Stringer, owner of Stringer Performance, sees the hiring of Kloeber as part of the bigger picture for the racing outfit, which includes as one of its proud sponsors.

“Sometimes life comes full circle, and we believe our company’s strong ties to faith and family along with an agenda built on trust, passion, and desire with the ability to weather storms brought this opportunity together,” said Stringer. “Mike and Clay have had tremendous success in the past, and Mike fully embraces our team’s platform and goals.”


One Final Weekend

Catch Clay in action for the last time in 2018 this weekend at the Auto Club NHRA Finals! Click here for the TV schedule.

Look: Chad Finley’s Strutmasters-Sponsored #42 NASCAR Truck

After the success of its partnership with Stringer Performance and Clay Millican, Strutmasters expanded its foray into the world of racing by sponsoring Chad Finley’s #42 truck in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

At just 26 years old, Chad Finley is quickly climbing the ranks in NASCAR’s premier truck series. Here are some photos of Chad and his Strutmasters-sponsored ride:


Strutmasters Ups Sponsorship of Clay Millican, Stringer Performance, to Become Co-Sponsor

Roxboro, NC

North Carolina-based suspension manufacturer is increasing its sponsorship of the NHRA Top Fuel racing team Stringer Performance. The move makes Strutmasters a co-primary sponsor. They will join longtime Stringer Performance partner Parts Plus.

The company has continually increased its marketing since it began its partnership with Stringer Performance in 2017. What was at first an associate sponsor relationship has grown in 2018. Strutmasters was the co-primary sponsor for five separate events during the 2018 season.

Clay stomps that loud pedal in the race car all the way to another victory.


“An Exhilarating Ride”


Founded in 1999 by Chip Lofton, has emerged as one of the industry’s leading air-to-non-air suspension conversion kit manufacturers and suppliers. The company produces affordable solutions to problems caused by air, magnetic, hydraulic and electronic suspension systems. The company started when Lofton needed to repair his family’s only vehicle. It was then he realized he could help others with the simple, yet innovative solution he had found. Since that time, Strutmasters has grown from a small regional operation to delivering suspension conversion kits all around the globe, earning the moniker “The Suspension Experts.”

“I am honored to come on board as sponsor of Clay Millican and Stringer Performance,” said Lofton. “It’s been an exhilarating ride this season and I’m looking forward to more during the finals and next season as takes a more predominant role with the team. Clay and this entire team are incredible ambassadors for our brand, both on the track and off and we have seen immense value from this relationship. I am excited to see this partnership grow into the future.”

“A True Partnership”


Doug Stringer, Stringer Performance owner, says he is delighted to see Strutmasters take a larger role in the team.

“ has been a great partner of our team over the course of the last two seasons,” said Stringer. “The NHRA is an excellent marketing platform for them. I’m excited for them to step into a major partner role in 2019. It’s a good opportunity to capitalize on the marketing value associated with primary sponsorship. Chip Lofton is a very involved partner and his excitement is contagious.  It’s a true partnership and we look forward to doing everything on our end to assist reach their marketing goals.”

Is Your Oil Leaking? 6 Easy Ways to Tell

Proper oil quality and oil levels are essential to a healthy engine. Leaking oil not only causes a series of immediate issues like overheating, it can cause serious irreparable damage to your engine and other components if left untreated.

If oil leaks are spotted early on, they can usually be treated easily and relatively cheaply. If you think the oil in your car may be leaking, look for these tell-tale signs before taking your car in to the shop.

1. The unmistakable burning oil smell

Even before a leak may be visible, small amounts that touch hot components will burn. While you may not immediately see smoke, the smell is unmistakable. It is a distinctly acrid, industrial smell.

2. Snap, crackle and pop

If oil is leaking onto hot components, you may also hear what sounds like something being fried. Just like when something is dropped into a hot panl, when your engine oil leaks onto hot parts it reacts with dirt and debris and sizzles. This sound indicates a likely leak.

3. Smoke from under the hood

If a larger amount of oil is leaking and burning, you will see visible smoke coming from under the hood. Not only does this suggest a leak, it can also rapidly deteriorate other components in the vehicle. If you see smoke coming from your vehicle’s engine, get it checked by a professional immediately.

4. Slicks under your vehicle

Due to condensation and a few other things, your car will occasionally “leak” onto a driveway or parking place. This can make it difficult to detect when your car may be leaking oil, rather than simply shedding water.

Unlike water, oil will leave a stain on whatever surface it sits on. Check to see if the puddle under your car evaporates or if it leaves a brownish or yellowish stain. You may even want to slide a piece of cardboard under your vehicle to get a sample you can inspect more closely.

5. Running hot

The engine oil in your car keeps friction down. This keeps the engine from overheating. If there is a significant leak and your level and pressure are low, this will cause friction and heat to build up in the engine. Keep an eye on the engine thermometer on the dash panel. If your engine is running hot, it is possible you have a leak.

6. Indicator light

Your dash panel also features an indicator light (and perhaps something more detailed than that). When this light illuminates it indicates that something is wrong with the level or pressure. Do not ignore it. Sometimes driving the car up or down a steep hill might cause it to misread the amount, in which case the light would go back off once the car levels out. If the light comes on and stays on, take it in.


While one of these symptoms alone does not necessarily mean you have an oil leak, several of them together means one is likely.

An oil leak is a serious problem because it can wreak havoc on an engine. While the leak itself is mostly just an annoyance, your car needs it to function. If you ignore the problem long enough, you risk serious and expensive engine damage. Don’t mess around. Take it in, or if you’re handy enough, look for it and fix it yourself.

For more car care tips and maintenance help, check out the Strutmasters blog.

Strutmasters Rescues Lexus LS 460 Owners with New Conversion Kit

  The Lexus LS 460, model years 2007-2012, was many things. A grand, stately throwback to the larger sedans of the 90s. An executive-level car with elegant styling that rivaled anything in its class from any part of the world. Unfortunately, an example of long-lasting, durable air suspension is something it was not.



The Lexus LS 460 brought the large luxury sedan that put Lexus on the map back to the forefront.
The Lexus LS 460 brought the large luxury sedan that put Lexus on the map back to the forefront.



While much about the car has been praised over the years, the problems with its air suspension have been well-documented. Many owners of the vehicle complained about everything from faulty bushings that wore out after just 12,000 miles to struts that gave out after just over 50,000 miles. Lexus tried to correct the problem by offering free labor when replacing air suspension components to some of its customers. However, given the nature of air suspensions, repairs just led to the need for more repairs.


   After hearing these complaints, Strutmasters’ engineers jumped on designing a kit that could convert this model from air to coilover suspension. The result is one of the company’s finest kits to date–one that completely eliminates Lexus’ faulty air suspension components and replaces it with sturdy, reliable coils.

   “We always try to keep an eye on consumer complaint channels to see who is having problems and could benefit from a conversion kit,” explained Matt Lofton, Vice President of Strutmasters. “Once we saw the number of issues people were having with this air ride on the LS 460 and got a few calls from folks looking for a conversion we knew it was time to get to work.”

   Some of the earlier conversion kits that were designed for the LS 460 were priced at or above $2,000, not too much less than reinstalling OEM-style air suspension components. As is the Strutmasters way, the company has been able to deliver a kit that does the same job replacing the suspension on all four wheels for just under $800, less than replacing one air strut at the dealer.

   Owners considering switching over to the much more reliable coilover suspension should also take note that this kit also comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty, meaning their days of throwing money at this faulty suspension are over after they convert.

    Check out the kit here on the company’s website or call the hotline at (866) 830-5450 to learn more or place your order today.





McLeansboro, IL (June 21, 2017) – Fresh from his first NHRA race win last week in Bristol, Clay Millican is ready to keep the momentum going at the 2017 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. He is ready to put the Parts Plus/Great Clips/University of Northwestern Ohio Top Fuel dragster back in the Winner’s Circle.


“I’ve been so overwhelmed with all the messages and congrats I’ve received since Sunday night. My phone and social media has just blown up. I’m just so grateful,” Millican said. “I’ve always been confident that Grubby (Crew Chief David Grubnic) and the crew would get us in the Winner’s Circle. We’re just a small single-car team, but we showed the big guys that we can get the job done.”


Unlike most professional Top Fuel teams, the Stringer Performance team is based out of the small town of McLeansboro, Illinois. The crew is relatively young with most of them never working on a professional race team before. There are no high-tech frills in their shop. In fact, it’s a barn and it’s located in car owner Doug Stringer’s backyard. In their off time the crew fish in a pond down the hill or take shooting practice in the farm field.


“We are really a family team. That is something we really value and appreciate,” Stringer said. “I just can’t tell you how proud I am of everyone after our win in Bristol. They all worked their tails off to compete against the multi-car teams and bring home a win. I know they’ll do it again soon.”


Millican and Stringer have worked together for three years now. In that time the team has continued to improve. In 2015 Millican finished the season No.11 and last year cracked the top 10. The victory in Bristol has put Millican No.7 in the NHRA Mello Yello points standings, only 10 points behind Brittany Force.


Upon their return to McLeansboro after a month away on the NHRA Eastern Swing, the entire town has been invited to welcome the Stringer Performance team home and celebrate their Bristol win on Tuesday evening.



2017 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Schedule

Friday, June 23

6:00 p.m. Nitro Qualifying Session 1

8:30 p.m. Nitro Qualifying Session 2


Saturday, June 24

1:30 p.m. Nitro Qualifying Session 3

4:00 p.m. Nitro Qualifying Session 4


Sunday, June 25

11:00 a.m. Nitro Eliminations Begin



2017 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals TV Schedule on FS1

Friday, June 23 – 10:30 p.m. Qualifying Coverage

Sunday, June 25 – 12:00 a.m. Qualifying Coverage

Sunday, June 25 – 6:00 p.m. Eliminations Coverage


About Stringer Performance

Established in 2015, Stringer Performance is entering its third 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 and UNOH.


Social Media:

Twitter: @StringerRacing

Instagram: @stringerperformance

Twitter: @ClayMillican

Instagram: @ClayMillican

What to Do When Your Front Struts are Leaking

leaking struts shocks

Leaking front struts may be one of the most common suspension problems, but they also can be a cause for concern. When your vehicle’s front struts are leaking, it’s a telltale sign of suspension issues. Fortunately, dealing with this situation is fairly simple.

Here’s what you need to do if your front struts are leaking.

Diagnose the Problem

Once you discover that your struts are leaking, you need to diagnose the problem. Leaking front struts are usually caused by old parts. With time, the seals on the struts can become brittle, preventing them from keeping fluid within the system. So inspect the struts for any broken seals or deterioration.

If your struts are new and in good shape, then they may be leaking because of an accident that affected the suspension system and damaged the front struts by bending or denting them.

If you can’t seem to diagnose the issue that’s causing your front struts to leak, contact an automotive professional for help.

Replace Your Front Struts Immediately

After you’ve determined the cause of the leak, have the struts replaced immediately. Driving with worn-out struts will make your ride unstable and much more dangerous.

Worn-out or damaged struts can’t keep the vehicle from bouncing in rough road conditions. On top of that, tires have a harder time maintaining contact with the road when you’re driving with old or damaged front struts, so you’re more likely to skid, roll over, and get into a severe accident.

Most importantly, damaged or old struts will cause your tires to wear out excessively and unevenly. This can result in reduced traction, control, and overall safety, especially in slippery road conditions.

How to Prevent Your Front Struts from Leaking

Leaking front struts can cause severe performance issues, but they’re preventable when you follow the tips below.

Inspect Your Suspension Regularly

Check the condition of your vehicle’s suspension parts regularly. If you spot any issues, regardless of how minor, get your suspension repaired to prevent additional damage.

Replace Your Struts as Needed

The life span of your front struts will depend on your driving patterns. However, it’s recommended that you replace them every 50,000 miles. So stay on top of your mileage and replace them at the appropriate time. This will not only help to prevent your front struts from leaking, but it will also help your vehicle produce a smooth performance for years to come.

Be Aware of Warning Signs

Sometimes, you won’t be able to see your front struts leaking until it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the following warning signs to let you know when your front struts are leaking:

  • Vibrating steering wheel
  • Increased tire tread wear
  • Front end of the vehicle dips when braking

Once you notice any of these signs, get your front struts checked and repaired or replaced immediately.

For more information, contact Strutmasters online.

Top 5 Cars for Teen Drivers

Finding a safe, dependable, and fuel-efficient car for teen drivers used to be a difficult task, but not anymore. With new environment regulations and advanced technologies, there’s no car on the market today that’s not safe, dependable, or efficient.

So which is the best for your teen? To help you find out, here’s a list of the top five cars for new teen drivers.

Subaru Impreza

2016-subaru-imprezaThe Subaru Impreza has always been a top choice for new teen drivers. Coming from a brand that’s known for dependability, the Impreza is one of the most reliable cars any teen could have. In fact, the latest model year received top honors from several safety organizations. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick+, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave it a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating.

On top of that, it’s one of the only teen-friendly vehicles that comes standard with all-wheel drive to ensure safety, stability, and control should they need to travel in adverse road conditions.

And for added safety, the Impreza offers the available EyeSight safety system, a suite of driver assist technologies that display warnings and automatically apply the brakes to help them avoid a collision.

Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevy Malibu also received top honors from both the IIHS and the NHTSA and comes equipped with advanced optional safety technologies. However, safety features and awards aren’t the only things that make the Malibu a top car for new teen drivers.

With the Malibu’s available Teen Driver feature, parents can monitor their teen’s driving habits. This silences the radio when seat belts aren’t fastened and automatically enables the safety features when teens are behind the wheel. It can also let parents set volume limits, speed limits, and speeding alerts.

Best of all, Teen Driver relays how their teens drove in the form of a digital report card. It’ll show parents how many times certain safety features were used.

Hyundai Sonata

2016-hyundai-sonataThe Hyundai Sonata may not be as flashy as many of its competitors, but that’s exactly why it’s a great car for new teen drivers. It only comes standard with the necessary safety features and technologies, so there are fewer distractions for teens on the wheel. Of course, more innovative amenities are available for certain trims if you want more technologies.

Plus it’s an affordable first-time car. Starting at just over $22,000, the Hyundai Sonata is a great option for parents looking to buy a dependable new car for their teens without breaking the bank.

And the Sonata was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS and received a 5-Star Crash Safety Rating from the NHTSA.

Toyota Prius

If fuel efficiency is a must for your teen’s first car, then consider the Toyota Prius. Known to be the country’s best selling hybrid, this vehicle provides a stable performance and more miles to the gallon than most vehicles on the market. It comes with advanced performance features that help it achieve up to an EPA-estimated 54 mpg highway.

And to keep your mind at ease, the Prius offers a slew of safety technologies, including the Toyota Safety Sense P. This active safety package adds advanced amenities like the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection to help teen drivers pay more attention to their surroundings and avoid accidents.

Nissan Rogue

Like the vehicles listed above, the Nissan Rogue will appeal to both new teen drivers and their parents. Teens will love the Rogue for its selection of advanced convenience and entertainment technologies. They’ll also love it because of its spacious interior perfect for carpooling and hauling around their college gear on move in day.

Parents of new teen drivers will like the Rogue for its capabilities and dependability. It features the available Intuitive All-Wheel Drive system as well as standard performance stability features to ensure teens maintain control and safety when traveling through adverse road conditions. Parents will also love the fact that it’s fuel efficient and includes safety technologies like Blind Spot Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, and Moving Object Detection.

Check out the Strutmasters blog for more industry tips and information.

How Does Electronic Suspension Work?

Electronic suspensions are the most advanced suspension systems available. In the simplest terms, electronic suspensions adjust the feel of the suspension and your vehicle’s ride height to cater to changing road conditions with ease. But how exactly do they work?

Read on to find out.

Basics of Electronic Suspensions

Electronic suspension is essentially a computer-controlled system that can adjust the ride characteristics and performance of your vehicle. Unlike air suspensions, an electronic suspension modifies the shocks and/or struts electronically to ensure a smooth ride. Some electronic suspensions are also designed to automatically adapt to changing road conditions for improved handling in all sorts of terrain.

How Do Electronic Suspensions Work?

There are two types of electronic suspensions: adaptive and active. Each one works in a different way to improve performance.

Adaptive Electronic Suspensions

An adaptive electronic suspension is responsible for controlling the shock absorbers and their dampening performance. Simply put, they adjust the shocks as needed to deliver a smooth driving experience.

Adaptive suspensions can adjust the shocks using a solenoid and valve that’s placed on the strut. The solenoid connects to a computer in the system and monitors the road conditions. When stiffness and overall suspension performance need to be adjusted, the solenoid communicates this information to the system. Then it will activate the valves to open and close as needed to regulate the amount of hydraulic fluid going into the shocks.

An adaptive suspension may also use a magneto damper, or a damper filled with fluid that contains metal particles. An electromagnet controls these little pieces of metal to adjust the pressure and stiffness in each damper.

Active Electronic Suspensions

An active electronic suspension changes the ride height for your vehicle to improve performance and towing capabilities. This type of electronic suspension uses hydraulics or electromagnets to operate.

Active suspensions that adjust hydraulically use sensors to monitor the vehicle’s movement and ride height. When performance or ride height needs to be regulated, the system activates a hydraulic pump that pressurizes the liquid in the shocks. This will configure the stiffness of the suspension as well as the height of the vehicle to your specific preferences.

Electromagnetically controlled active suspensions work similarly to hydraulically controlled systems. The only difference is that these systems use electromagnet motors instead of pumps to adjust a car’s ride height. This type of active electronic suspension is known to respond faster and use less power than hydraulics.

Which Type of Electronic Suspension is Right for You?

Both types of electronic suspensions can improve performance but in different ways. If you’re looking for something to enhance your driving experience during your commutes, consider an adaptive electronic suspension. Its ability to monitor the road and automatically adjust the stiffness of the shocks will allow you to experience a smooth ride in most road conditions.

Those looking to adjust vehicle height for towing or performance purposes should consider installing an active electronic suspension kit. These allow you to raise or lower your vehicle will help you tow more and ensure a smooth ride.

But regardless of which type of electronic suspension you choose, you’re sure to get a great performance.

To learn more about electronic suspensions for your vehicle, contact Strutmasters online now.