Budds Creek, MD - Elkhart, Indiana Funny Car racer Terry McMillen confidently carried his number 6 ranking in this season's IHRA Summit Racing Series points chase into Maryland International Raceway for this weekend's 10th running of the...
Budds Creek, MD - Elkhart, Indiana Funny Car racer Terry McMillen confidently carried his number 6 ranking in this season's IHRA Summit Racing Series points chase into Maryland International Raceway for this weekend's 10th running of the President's Cup Nationals. He also carried the livery of one of his primary backers as well, his Mopar flopper colorfully embellished with the trademark gator of Amalie Oil, as it had been on several previous occasions this season.
Terry's wife Rhonda is the team manager, and she explained the unique rotating sponsor program they've utilized this year. "After losing our major sponsor of the last three years, we approached three of our associate sponsors to see if they would each step up and support us for part of the season. To their credit, Amalie, as well as Vintage Trailers and Valley Screen, agreed, and we were able to stay in the game for 2001."
Fittingly, McMillen, a 47-year-old electrical engineer, is enjoying his best season in quite a while, and he was shooting for another good outing at the second-to-last event on the IHRA schedule. He established a good starting point in the first qualifying session on Friday, the car hooking up well and running through at a respectable 6.161/203.49. Looking to squeeze more out of the combination, he returned for the final Friday attempt with a more assertive tune-up. The set-up was just a little too aggressive, however, and a wheels-up launch forced him to lift and coast to a 9.936/87.91, good enough for the number 15 spot, but not good enough for McMillen.
He came out on Saturday with a strong desire to improve, and his first run of the day delivered the numbers he was looking for, the 5.925/237.80 good enough to propel him into the ninth spot. He opted to sit out the final session, and when the smoke cleared he was qualified 11th, and scheduled to meet former Pro Outlaw standout Laurie Cannister in the first round of eliminations. On Sunday, McMillen was on a mission, and in spite of shaking the tires when he shifted into second, he drove it out for a 5.879/235.93 to 5.980/235.93 victory.
In round two, McMillen found his '98 Dodge Avenger staged up against the strong-running CompetitionPlus-sponsored entry of John Vourous. He did what he had to do, nailing Vourous to the tree, 0.439 to 0.463, but couldn't muster the steam to maintain his advantage, and Vourous roared by en route to a 5.854/238.98 to 6.045/214.25 win.
No professional driver minds going down in hard-fought competition, and McMillen is no exception. "Sure, we always go out with the intention of taking a win, but if we qualify well, and don't beat ourselves by making stupid mistakes, then it just wasn't our day," McMillen said. "We know that we can turn a few screws and hopefully come back at the next event better prepared to go all the way. Thanks to all the people who supported us this season, we have the opportunity to do just that, and we couldn't be happier, considering the fact that we nearly had to park the car prior to the season."
The McMillen team will have one more chance to contest for a win at the season finale in Shreveport, LA on October 12-14 when the 4th Annual Mopar Parts World Finals will be contested at Red River Raceway.