Terry McMillen Sizzles at Sooner Nationals - Claims provisional pole with 4.692 at 308.99 mph; Matt Hagan (Nitro Funny Car, Jim Halsey (Pro Modified), Dale Brand (Alcohol Funny Car )and Cary Goforth (Pro Stock) also lead provisional qualifying at...
Terry McMillen Sizzles at Sooner Nationals - Claims provisional pole with 4.692 at 308.99 mph; Matt Hagan (Nitro Funny Car, Jim Halsey (Pro Modified), Dale Brand (Alcohol Funny Car )and Cary Goforth (Pro Stock) also lead provisional qualifying at Tulsa Raceway Park
Tulsa, Ok. (Aug. 22, 2008) -- Before the Mopar Canadian Nationals in Grand Bend, Top Fuel driver Terry McMillen, an Elkhart, Ind. resident, made an addition to his crew. He brought veteran tuner Doug Kuch into the Hoosier Thunder Motorsports fold, a move that has made all the difference.
McMillen captured the Ironman in Grand Bend, moving from on the fringe of the Top Fuel championship points chase directly into the middle of it. He followed that up with a final-round showing at the Torco Northern Nationals three weeks ago, where Spencer Massey ended his quest for a second straight national event victory. Though he fell short in the final round, McMillen did move to within 140 points of front-running Massey in the 2008 points chase.
Friday in Tulsa McMillen was at it again. He ran the quickest pass of the Top Fuel qualifying session, clocking a 4.692 at 308.99 mph to move to the top of the provisional qualifying sheet at the Skull Shine Sooner Nationals presented by Wolverine Boots and Academy Sports + Outdoors. He also garnered five bonus points for claiming "Last Man Standing" honors.
"Doug (Kuch) and the guys bust their butts on this car, so this really felt good," McMillen said. "It was a really good run for us. The car even spun the tires a little bit at the 800-foot mark, but we were still able to put up a good number. That was the kind of number I think it's going to take to win the race this weekend."
The addition of Kuch has brought the Hoosier Thunder Motorsports team together.
"We're really jelling as a team, we're all very tight right now," McMillen said. "Whenever someone makes a mistake everyone else jumps in to pick them up. That's the kind of attitude it's going to take if we're going to make a run at this championship. The team has worked hard all season, then we added Doug and things took off."
Matt Hagan (Christiansburg, Virg.) is another driver who has his sites set on getting back into the title hunt. Hagan entered the Sooner Nationals sixth in the points standings, following a shocking DNQ in Martin, Mich. three weeks ago. He had hired Paul Smith to tune his '08 Solera prior to Martin, and after Friday's qualifying session in Tulsa it appears as if the period of adjustment is over.
Hagan charged to the top of the provisional qualifying sheet with a 5.086 at 298.60 mph, over a hundredth quicker than the #2 provisional qualifier and current points leader Terry Haddock.
"We made a change and had to adjust to it," Hagan said. "We went to Reading last weekend to make some laps, then came here. We were really happy with that run tonight, we just wanted to go A to B and get on the paper. Now we can play around and experiment a little bit with things."
Hagan also won "Last Man Standing" honors and the five bonus points that come with it.
"We were really glad to get the Last Man Standing," he said. "We needed the extra points so it was really big for us."
Jim Halsey (Street, Md.) picked up right where he left off from Martin. He knocked off Mike Castellana in the final at the Northern Nationals to claim his second Ironman of the season. Friday in Tulsa he clocked a 6.071 at 232.71 mph to lead Pro Modified qualifying heading into Saturday.
Halsey headed to Tulsa #3 in the Pro Mod points standings, 75 behind Kenny Lang. Castellana, #2 in the points chase 47 behind Lang, picked up some ground on the leader. He finished #2 on the provisional qualifying sheet, but was the quickest winning Pro Mod of the Friday, garnering "Last Man Standing" honors.
Dale Brand (Sully, Iowa) is not in the Alcohol Funny Car points chase. In fact, Laurie Cannister, with her five national event victories this season, can pretty much take a victory lap the rest of the season. Brand is, however, one of the quickest, most consistent Alcohol Funny Cars on the IHRA circuit. Friday in Tulsa he ran a 5.870 at 238.43 mph to head up AFC provisional qualifying.
Paul Noakes (London, Ont.) drove his Amalie Oil InstiGator to #2 on the qualifying sheet with a 5.892/237.55 pass while Cannister ended up #3 with her 5.958/238.26.
Pete Berner (Crete, Ill.) was the quickest Pro Stocker Friday in Tulsa. He put his Quarter-Max 2008 GXP on top of the provisional qualifying list with a 6.444 at 217.25 mph.
"We had a great run tonight, but there was a little left in it, too," Berner said. "We did what we had to do, and that's what counts."
Berner picked up five bonus points and a $500 check from Quarter-Max for winning the Quarter-Max Pro Stock Challenge.
"These bonus points can make a significant difference at the end of the year, and we're trying to get all we can," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow we can pick it up a little and take home another five points."
The Skull Shine Sooner Nationals will continue Saturday, Aug. 22. The first professional qualifying session will take place at 2pm, with final qualifying scheduled for 6:30pm as part of the Warren CAT Night of Fire. Pro eliminations will take place Sunday, Aug. 23, starting at 11am.