Clay Millican Racing

Clay Speaks About the NHRA “Countdown to the Championship” Format

Clay Millican is no stranger to championship level racing. The fan favorite won six IHRA titles before moving over to the NHRA as part of the Stringer Performance racing team, sponsored by Strutmasters.

“The biggest difference [between the IHRA and the NHRA],” said Millican, “was the IHRA were season-long runs, where we got on a roll. The (NHRA) Countdown changes all that, because under the old format Stevie (Torrence) would already be the champion. Those guys have won 40 or 50 races this year, or it seems like…he just keeps winning! This gives us another chance.”

Torrance, who has won seven national events this season, is currently sitting in first place heading into the championships. He has already put himself out in front of the pack by winning not only leading the “regular season” in points but also in winning the first three Countdown to the Championship playoff races. Millican finished second overall in points during the 2018 “regular season.”

Millican lead all four qualifying sessions this weekend and claiming 11 bonus points before falling just short in Sunday’s final eliminations at  the 33rd annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. But Clay being Clay, he’s not at all phased by the uphill battle in front of him.


“This is the ultimate playoffs for the fans,” said Clay with the infectious enthusiasm that has come to define him, “with the cars running like that in this kind of heat and humidity. It’s awesome.”

A three-time winner this season, Millican has had one of his best seasons of racing in his career. While an NHRA Championship is the ultimate goal, there has certainly been lots to celebrate and build on during the 2018 season.

Strutmasters is very proud sponsor of Clay Millican and the Stringer Performance racing team.

The Joy of Drag Racing | Five Reasons You’ll Love the NHRA

When it comes to auto racing, Formula 1 is king worldwide and NASCAR reigns supreme here at home. That is, if you’re only going by the money and TV ratings. When it comes to pure racing, however, we’re convinced that NHRA drag racing can’t be beat.

Here are just a few reasons why we think the NHRA is the best game in town:

Heart-Stopping Action


How much action can you pack into 3.64 seconds? If you’re the NHRA, it turns out it’s quite a bit. That’s how much time the average Top Fuel race lasts.

F1 and NASCAR are long, slow burns lasting a few hours. NHRA races, on the other hand, start and finish before you can take a sip of your drink.

Given the short length, nearly every race results in a nail-biting photo finish, with merely a few feet between victory and defeat. Add to that the constant mix of flames, smoke and chrome and you have yourself something special.

Up Close and Personal

At an NHRA event, every single ticket is a Pit Pass.

People can watch the pit action from as close as five or 10 feet, meaning fans at these races have direct access to drivers and some of the most highly-skilled mechanics on Earth. Drivers more often than not will hang around after the race to personally sign autographs and take pictures with their fans.

Mechanical Greatness

NHRA dragsters are feats of engineering. Here’s a little math:

A top fuel dragster accelerates from a standstill to 100 mph (160 km/h) in as little as 0.8 seconds (less than one third the time required by a production Porsche 911 Turbo to reach 60 mph (100 km/h))[1] and can exceed 280 mph (450 km/h) in just 660 feet (200 m). This subjects the driver to an average acceleration of about 4.0 g0 (39 m/s2) over the duration of the race and with a peak of over 5.6 g0 (55 m/s2).

At maximum throttle and RPM, the exhaust gases escaping from a dragster’s open headers produce about 900–1,100 pounds-force (4.0–4.9 kN) of downforce. The huge airfoil over and behind the rear wheels produces much more, peaking at around 12,000 pounds-force (53 kN) when the car reaches a speed of about 330 mph (530 km/h).

If math isn’t your thing, here’s the short version:

Top Fuel cars go faster than any car you’ve likely ever driven, by a lot. To do this, they need to be very light. However, because they are light, all that force can lift them right off the ground. In addition, all that downforce and g force can literally tear the car apart.

Therefore, Top Fuel cars need to be incredibly well-engineered to hit all their marks on speed, safety and durability.


An All-Day Affair

Most sporting events last a few hours, meaning you’ll often spend more time getting to and from the event than at the actual event. Not so at a day at the NHRA races.

NHRA events are an all-day family affair, or even an all-weekend one for the dedicated. With lots of downtime between events, there is always plenty to see and do around the stadium.



Fun For The Whole Family

Most sports have pretty limited demographics. Not so with the NHRA.

Those unfamiliar with the NHRA might not know that women are well-represented in the sport and compete right alongside the men.

One great example of this is the Force family. NHRA legend John Force is 16-time Funny Car winner and one of the most dominant racers of all time. At 69 years old he still participates in nearly every major event of the season. Three of his daughters, Ashley, Brittany and Courtney, are major players in the sport as well.

This is reflected in the stands, too. NHRA races are multi-generational and popular among both men and women. This means everyone has fun at the events, not just Dad.

At Strutmasters, we love any and all auto racing, but the NHRA will always have our hearts. That’s why we sponsor.

Go Clay! Stomp that loud pedal!

Strutmasters is a proud sponsor of Clay Millican and the Stringer Performance Racing Team.

Why We Love Clay | The Man Behind the Wheel

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.

Strutmasters Ups Its Sponsorship of Clay Millican, Stringer Performance

Shortly before the Heartland Nationals, Strutmasters announced that it would be increasing our sponsorship of Top Fuel legend Clay Millican and the Stringer Performance racing team.

The Roxboro-based “Suspension Experts” first partnered with Stringer Performance in 2017. After the increase in sponsorship, will have co-primary positioning on the body of the car along with Great Clips and Parts Plus during the Heartland Nationals (May 18-20) and the Thunder Valley Nationals (June 15-17).

Founded by Chip Lofton in 1999, Strutmasters has been offering affordable solutions to suspension problems for families across America for almost two decades. The company and the Lofton family has long been associated with motorsports. Lofton discussed the decision in an interview just prior to the Heartland Nationals in Topeka.

“We had the Thunder Valley Nationals on our radar as one of the events we wanted to sponsor but with the way Clay and the Stringer Performance team have been running this season we wanted to jump in as quick as possible and added the Topeka event as well,” said owner, Chip Lofton. “Doug Stringer and his team have put forth impressive results so far this season, with Clay most recently breaking the track record at Atlanta on top of three No. 1 qualifiers so far this season. We are extremely proud to be a part of this team.”

Doug Stringer, owner of Stringer Performance, said in a statement that he is delighted to see take a bigger role in the team. has been a great partner of our team over the course of the last two seasons,” said Stringer. “I’m excited for them to step into a major partner role for the Heartland Nationals and the Thunder Valley Nationals and to have the opportunity to capitalize on the marketing value associated with primary sponsorship. Bristol especially is a special race for us having won our very first Wally here last year so we have every intention of repeating and taking to the Winners Circle.”

Clay Millican and the NHRA Speak About Randy Alexander’s Death


The racing world lost one of its stars when driver Randy Alexander lost his life in a crash in the Southern Nationals in Atlanta on Saturday.

Alexander lost control of his vehicle in the right lane after crossing the finish line, swinging him into the left lane in front of Bob Mandell. Mandell, who clocked a speed of 203 miles per hour, had not slowed down much from the race yet and t-boned Alexander’s Corvette. This caused Alexander’s car to flip over and land on the retainer wall. Alexander passed away later at the hospital as a result of his injuries.

Veteran driver and Top Fuel record-holder Clay Millican, who has seen his fair share of crashes and malfunctions already this season, spoke to the media about the incident.

[I] certainly was thinking about what happened earlier today with the Top Sportsman cars,” said Millican. “Man, we all know what can happen. NHRA has more 200-mile-an-hour runs by more individuals than any other sport in the world. And we kind of get used to these things going down the racetrack. So I’m certainly thinking about families that were involved in that today. It’s part of what we do, but man, you hate to see anything like that happen.”


Several hours after the incident, the NHRA released the following prepared statement:

“It is with heavy hearts that we report Randy Alexander of Harvest, Alabama, passed away at a local hospital after sustaining injuries in an on-track incident at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Georgia. NHRA and the entire racing community extend their deepest condolences and their prayers to the participant’s family and friends. We also ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

An uptick in the number of crashes and explosions this season has the NHRA trying a number of different approaches to make the sport and its drivers safer.

This is a developing story and we’ll be sure to follow it.

Three Weeks In and This NHRA Season Has Already Been Crazy

Let’s face it, there is nothing tame about professional drag racing, but just three weekends into the 2018 NHRA season and it’s already been one for the history books.

We’ve seen Clay Millican break his own Top Fuel record twice in one day. Then we saw Tony Schumacher break it the following week. Then Clay broke it again. Then Schumacher broke it again.

On the opening weekend we saw Brittany Force crash badly, only to see her father, NHRA legend John, involved in one of the scariest crashes we’ve ever seen this past weekend at the Arizona Nationals.

However, another member of the Force family, Courtney, won the Funny Car finals that same day at the Arizona Nationals, beating out Tommy Johnson, Jr. with a 3.834-second run at 337.16 mph

It isn’t even March and it has already been a wild and exciting year for drag racing. There’s no telling what the rest of this season has in store for all of us racing fans. Follow this link to the NHRA website to catch the dates for all of this season’s races:

At Strutmasters, we are proud sponsors of Clay Millican and the Stringer Performance Top Fuel racing team.

Clay Does it Again! Millican Breaks His Own Top Fuel Record

NHRA fan favorite Clay Millican broke the Top Fuel national time record and took the top position this past Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals with a time of 3.628 seconds at 322.04 mph.

Millican also owned the previous record of 3.631 seconds, which he set the previous year in Madison, Illinois.

The Stringer Performance driver credited the people around him for the new record.

“My crew chief, David Grubnic, runs this car differently than anybody else out here, and he is just one of a kind,” said Millican.

Millican insists that he and the Stringer team aren’t done yet, despite the excitement over the new record.

“I knew it was a special run at the 330-foot mark, and I even shut the car off a bit early, so we know we can improve upon those numbers at some point.”


Strutmasters, always a champion of top-shelf performance, is a proud sponsor of Clay Millican and the Stringer Performance NHRA team.



Indianapolis, IN (September 4, 2017) – For the second year in a row, Clay Millican earned the No. 1 qualifying spot and set a Lucas Oil Raceway track record at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. He now has three of the top 10 quickest runs, in Top Fuel history.


On Saturday evening, Millican drove the Parts Plus/Great Clips/University of Northwestern Ohio Top Fuel dragster to an elapsed time of 3.663 at 329.10 mph. This put him in the top qualifying spot, set the Top Fuel E.T. record at Lucas Oil Raceway and became the seventh fastest Top Fuel pass ever.


“My confidence is now at an all-time high. I know when I get in that race car it can run with anybody here, at any time, without a question. Our car is quick as anybody’s in the world right now,” Millican said. “This is a tune up David Grubnic has been working on for three years. This is his tune up, not somebody else’s he is massaging. Grubby never quits thinking and never sits still.”


On top of setting the record and qualifying No. 1, Millican made five clean passes that earned him 11 bonus points, which were critical to securing a spot in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. He attributes his recent success to his crew.


“It’s all about the people. We have all the right people in the right place. It starts with Doug and works its way down to the kids working on this car. They’re an amazing group of young guys,” Millican said. “Every Sunday night we get the crew together to talk about what went right, why we won and why we lost. They work so hard without the recognition they deserve. They are the ones that make this car go. We have a heck of a team. I’m more confident in this car than any other car I’ve driven in my life.”


Unfortunately, Millican made in early exit on race day. In the first round Millican came up against No. 16 qualifier, Kebin Kinsley. While Millican made a great pass of 3.756/323.97, Kinsley took the win on a holeshot running 3.813/318.02.


“It was a close race and I had a .077 reaction time, but Kebin had a .014 light. Hats off to him on a good run,” Millican said.


At the end of the day, Millican clinched the No.7 spot in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.


Next up is the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 15 – 17, 2017. This is the first race in the Countdown, so points are reset and the Parts Plus/Great Clips/UNOH team will start from the seventh position with six races to reach the number one spot.


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. 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


Sonoma, CA (July 30, 2017) – Eliminations at the Toyota NHRA Nationals did not go the way Clay Millican and the Stringer Performance team had hoped. For only the third time this year, the Parts Plus/Great Clips/University of Northwestern Ohio Top Fuel dragster was eliminated in the first round of eliminations.


Millican came into race day qualified No. 8 with an elapsed time of 3.744 at 328.54 mph.


“We came out of the gate like gangbusters with our 3.744 run on Friday,” Millican said. “But then we missed the tune up on the next run and went up in smoke.”


In Round One Millican faced No.9 qualifier, Terry McMillen. Right from the start, the tires of the Parts Plus/Great Clips/University of Northwestern Ohio went up in smoke. McMillen took the win: 3.785/323.74 to 10.446/79.43. This is the fifth time this year that Millican and McMillen faced each other with the win loss record now being 3-2.


“It’s very unusual for our car to smoke the tires four runs in a row,” confessed Millican. “But Grubby, (Crew Chief David Grubnic), has pinpointed what the problem is and we will have it fixed before our next race in Seattle.”


Next up for the Stringer Performance team is the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, Washington at Pacific Raceways August 4 – 6, 2016.


“Overall it was a good weekend. We’re halfway thru the Western Swing and our team is on it. We’re headed for Seattle and we have a new look for our car we can’t wait to show everyone,” Millican said.


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. 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