Millican, qualified 13th with a decent 3.84 at 313 MPH to face the reining Top Fuel Champion Shawn Langdon, who qualified fourth with a 3.76 at 323 MPH. At the starting line it was Langdon out of the gate first but Millican was not far behind. As Millican began to gain some momentum he started to loose traction as the car shook hard and smoked the tires. He then had no choice but to abandon the pass and wisely shut it off. Meanwhile, Lanngdon made a strong run to advance into the next round.
It was a tough loss but the team will regroup and get ready for their next event at the NHRA Gatornationals, March 13-16. Tuttle Motorsports would like to thank their sponsors Parts Plus, Liquid MPG, Bendix and Exide Batteries.
Millican and Tuttle Have an Exciting Debut at the
The team almost didn’t make it into the elimination rounds as the trio was on the outside looking in until the final qualifying session when it was do or die. Millican was forced to make a Hale Mary pass to get in the show and did it with a 3.84 at 307 MPH good for the 14th spot. Prior to the final qualifying session, the team was fighting computer glitches on each pass and Walsh had no data to work with, so the successful pass was partly a shot in the dark.
In round one, Millican who was celebrating a birthday, took on Antron Brown whom he had never beat in eliminations. Brown qualified third with a 3.73 at 326 MPH. At the green, Brown got out of the gate first with a sizable advantage but at about 300 feet out he smoked the tires while Millican was on a picture perfect pass. Millican was able to grab the lead and maintain it the rest of the way to get his first round win over Brown. Millican recorded his best run of the event, a 3.79 at 312 MPH to Brown’s 4.07 at 266 MPH.
In the quarterfinals, Millican faced former Tuttle Motorsports driver Steve Torrence who qualified sixth with a 3.77. At the hit, Torrence got a slight starting line advantage and was able to maintain a short twenty foot lead all the way to the finish line. Torrence recorded a 3.79 at 324 MPH to take the win over Millican’s valiant 3.82 at 316 MPH pass.
It was a confidence boosting weekend for the new team as they worked through some technical problems to finish strong and make it to the quarterfinals at one of NHRA’s biggest signature events.
Millican and Tuttle Working Hard for 2014 Start
FORT WORTH, Tex. (January 7, 2014) -- Ask Top Fuel driver Clay Millican what his favorite gift was this Christmas and he will proudly announce it was his sponsorship from Parts Plus. The multi-year deal was finalized on Christmas Eve, just in time to be put under the tree on Christmas morning.
The start of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello season will mark a new era in Millican's career as he joins forces with long time team owner, Dexter Tuttle and Tuttle Motorsports. The Parts Plus deal will provide funding for Millican and the team for several years, giving Tuttle the security that comes with a multi-year contract.
"I've been wanting to get back to full-time racing for a while now," Tuttle said. "We were gearing up to run a limited schedule under the Liquid MPG banner in 2014. Now with both Parts Plus and Liquid MPG as sponsors, we will be able to run the entire tour for the next several seasons."
Officially Millican will be driving the Parts Plus/Liquid MPG Top Fuel dragster, and he is equally enthusiastic about 2014, and beyond.
"This really is a great fit all the way around," Millican said. "Once the Parts Plus folks met Dexter we all knew this was the right direction for all of us to go. I can't tell you how excited I am to see what comes next.
"Dexter and I are both cut from the same cloth," Millican continued. "He loves the sport, and has raced with sponsors, and also raced when he had to foot the bill himself. As my momma always says, you got to have the 'want to' to be successful, and Dexter certainly has the 'want to' when it comes to drag racing.
That 'want to' spirit can easily been seen by Tuttle's willingness to invest in his team even before he started talking to Millican or Parts Plus.
"I started buying new stuff last year," Tuttle said. "In fact a big reason we raced Dallas with Larry (Dixon) was to start working with our new equipment and get a head start on 2014.
"Our biggest goal has been to put the car on a diet," Tuttle continued. "We shaved 9 pounds off the rear-end, and we are dropping another 30 pounds with our new body. It also doesn't hurt that Clay is the lightest driver in the pits. We have state-of-the-art superchargers and cylinder heads from DSR, and both our Hadman chassis have been updated for 2014.
"The bottom line is I want be competitive whether I'm racing one race or the whole year," Tuttle said. "It was going to take buying the latest and greatest in order to do that."
With all the parts and pieces at the shop, now it is just a matter of time to get everything ready for pre-season testing before Pomona. The team is still adding crew members and will be working non-stop to be ready for the start of the 2014 season. For Tuttle and Millican, they hope it is a good one.
To learn more about Parts Plus go to www.partsplus.com here
To read archived stories Click Here