Four-time defending IHRA Top Fuel Champion claims 38th career Ironman at Amalie Oil Texas Nationals. Clay Millican has risen to the top of the IHRA Top Fuel field and has held that perch for the last four seasons. He entered 2005 with a record...
Four-time defending IHRA Top Fuel Champion claims 38th career Ironman at Amalie Oil Texas Nationals.
Clay Millican has risen to the top of the IHRA Top Fuel field and has held that perch for the last four seasons. He entered 2005 with a record 37 career Ironmen and an unprecedented four consecutive World Championships. His campaign for a fifth consecutive title if off to a good start as he defeated Louie Allison in the final to win at San Antonio for a third straight time and open his season with a win for the fourth year in a row. Millican piloted the Werner Trucking '05 Hadman Dragster to the victory by clocking a 4.700 at 304.80 mph in the final. Allison went into tire shake at half-track and lifted out of the run.
"It is going to be tougher this year with all the cars coming and all the extra folks showing up," Millican said. "The car has run better and if you look at the miles an hour we didn't run fast but we ran quick. Louie was the same way, he ran quick without good miles an hour. But that was a very interesting final. We have a rule that we do not talk on the radio once I'm going down the racetrack. That's kind of distracting when you are going 300 miles an hour if someone is trying to talk to you on the radio. Nobody talks on the radio when I'm driving down the racetrack other than (Mike) Kloeber. If I hear him on the radio I shut off. In the final I was going and it was looking pretty good. I looked for Louie and didn't see him. So I was going and start hearing the IHRA tower talking to the far end of the racetrack. It bled over on my radio. They were talking something about tickets to the far end of the track or something. Once I opened the parachutes and got away from the wall, because I was driving kind of close to the wall, I tried to talk back. Then I tried to talk to Kloeber. I couldn't get anyone to talk to me then. It was kind of exciting for me."
The Drummonds, Tenn. resident has never lost a round at San Antonio Raceway. He defeated Paul Athey in the first round of eliminations and Mitch King in the semifinals. Millican qualified in the third position behind Bruce Litton and Doug Foley.
"This place has had bad weather at times but the nighttime crowds have always been good here," Millican said. "We ran a .56 here last year and ran a .59 the first year. This track has always been good and it was great to see the grandstands full and no rain."
In the Funny Car final two-time defending World Champion Rob Atchison received a big assist from Terry McMillen and his crew as they prepared for the championship race. Atchison had destroyed his engine in the semifinals against Mark Thomas and had to drop a new motor into his Erickson-sponsored entry before the final. Ironically the same team that helped him so much in the pits getting ready for the final was the team he defeated for the Ironman. Atchison posted a 5.749 at 242.41 mph to defeat the Amalie Oil-sponsored McMillen. McMillen ran a 5.922 at 219.44 mph.
"Terry's group was over there along with Mark Poyser and his dad and some of Jeff Burnett's crew," Atchison said. "I actually don't know how many people were over there because I had my head down and was working away. But it was pretty phenomenal how much everyone was helping out and it is real emotional when you think about the friendship there. Even Terry's guys, the ones we were going to run against. It was tough to beat Terry and I know he was taking it bad because we're such good friends. I kind of wish he hadn't have helped me now. But what are you supposed to do? I'm here to win and he knows I'm here to win the drag race. And he wanted to drag race, to get on the track and beat me. That's very noble of him and I couldn't have done it without those guys, but then again I have to turn around and beat him. It was a tough win but they are a great crew and they're going to win.he'll be alright."
In Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock an old name emerged to post a victory as 1998 World Champion Dan Seamon returned to competition and took home an Ironman. Seamon clocked a 6.454 in the final at 216.97 mph to defeat 2003 World Champion Brian Gahm. Seamon picked off Richard Penland, #1 qualifier Robert Patrick and Pete Berner to advance to the final.
"The key race was when we beat Patrick," Seamon said. "We figured if we could take him out we could go to the final. And I'm not saying anything about Brian because he's very good. But this was more of a shock to me than anybody. But I knew we had the right stuff to do it because Charlie and Jane Taylor always have the best equipment and I never have a doubt when I get into one of their racecars."
Ed Hoover perhaps had the most consistent car of the weekend in Torco Race Fuels Pro Modified. Hoover qualified in the top position and ran 229.43, 229.94, 228.92 and 227.84 in the final against Shannon Jenkins to claim the Ironman. One thing Hoover, a 25-year drag racing veteran, has changed is that he no longer chiefs his own crew. This year he has hired Jimmy Rector to run things and, according to Hoover, this has made all the difference.
"This is the toughest racing I have ever seen in Pro Mod," Hoover said. "I have been racing Pro Mod for 15 years and it's at a level I've never seen it at. It takes a good Crew Chief to take a load off of my mind and Jimmy is making all the right calls. Qualified #1, fastest car the second to last run and won the race. I can't ask Jimmy to do much more than that. Jimmy Rector is the man. He has definitely set my operation on top."