Clay Millican has yet to win an event overall in the 2019 season. However, heading into the Arby’s Southern Nationals he is right where he needs to be.
After a few very close calls, Millican is without a win on the season but is sitting in third place. The Drummonds, Tennessee native is just 66 points behind leader Steve Torrence. Only 34 points separate him and second-place Doug Kalitta.
Before the season there were questions about how Millican and his crew would adjust to the offseason shift. It appears those questions have been put to rest.
The Significance of Third Place
At third place, Millican is back where he finished last season, his best yet in the NHRA. With a building buzz around the driver of Parts Plus/Strutmasters.com dragster, that could be significant.
Millican outwardly recognized that the team’s third place finish last season was a stepping stone towards the ultimate prize. After early-season adjustments, Millican looks to be picking up right where he left off.
Sitting in third place with his team on a clear upward trajectory, Millican is brimming with his usual blend of sunny optimism and steely competitive confidence.
“We just have to maintain consistency going down the track,” Millican said. “If we do that, we’ll turn win lights on. If we can maintain consistency, that consistency will get us wins.”
Finding a winning formula
Millican and new crew chief Mike Kloeber are hoping to revive the winning ways of their IHRA days. It hasn’t taken long for the pair to start putting together some great runs.
“Mike was able to get a handle on what the car wants and needs,” said Millican. “That let us know as a group we can be thrown into the fire and get it done. They got through the fire together and it gives us confidence we can do this as a group.”
Kloeber is quickly learning the ins and outs of the more-than 10,000 HP dragster. The team struggled a bit early on. Millican placed 10th and 11th in the first two races of the season and was sitting outside the top 10 overall.
Since then, the team has been surging. There was the nail-biter of a finish in Gainesville. The top 5 finish in Houston. With every close finish, the confidence of the team grows.
Looking forward to Atlanta
Heading into the weekend, Millican and Co. will look to solidify their place at the top of the leaderboard. As they search for their first win of the season, expect Millican to kick everything into high gear.
It was at this point in the 2018 season that things started to pick up for Clay. If the team wants to prove to the NHRA world that they are serious contenders for the 2019 championship, a win would go a long way towards accomplishing that goal.
With periodic rain predicted throughout the weekend, Millican and Kloeber’s experience should pay off. However, in one of the most exciting NHRA Top Fuel seasons yet, anything can happen.
Make sure to watch Millican and others like Brittany Force, Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett at the Arby’s Southern Nationals. Check the TV schedule here to find all of the live broadcasts!