Clay Millican threw the racing world for a bit of a surprise this off-season. Early this winter, Straightline Strategy Group announced his team would be parting ways with David “Grubby” Grubnic.
It was a surprise because the pair had just had their best season to date. Millican notched two wins and finished third overall in points in the 2018 standings. Still, the Straightline Strategy Group made moves in the off-season to reunite Millican with his IHRA tuner Mike Kloeber ahead of the 2019 season.
Any serious racing fan or follower of the IHRA will tell you that that pair was virtually unbeatable during their stint. Millican went on to become to the winningest driver in IHRA history with Kloeber behind the wrench.
Unfinished Business with Kloeber
Millican spoke at length about his relationship with Kloeber in an excellent interview with NHRA.com.
“Kloeber and I certainly have a lot of unfinished business on the NHRA side of the fence,” Millican said. “We went on a limited tour of the NHRA during my IHRA career, and I’m drawing on my memory banks here a little bit, but we did go to three consecutive NHRA finals at one point. We did that while going to only 10 events.”
Millican’s memory does serve him correct. That was nearly 15 years ago.
Since that time, Millican has become ascendent in the NHRA. He scored the first win of his career in 2017 and then followed it up with two more in 2018.
The championship addition to the Straightline team doesn’t guarantee a championship, however.
“Anytime you have a whole new group of people trying to do these quick turnarounds, it’s going to be a challenge,” said Millican. “If we can keep ourselves in the top 10 leaving Indy, these guys certainly won’t be veterans, but they’ll be heat treated. We’ll have been through 18 battles before the Countdown started. I have no doubts that there will be rough spots and bumps throughout the way, but by the time the Countdown starts, I think we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
Hopefully for Millican and Kloeber, winning races together will be just like riding a bike.