Clay Millican Advances to First Career Top Fuel Final Round at NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals Baytown, Texas - April 18, 2004 - Clay Millican of Team 104+ Performance Additives/Lehman Racing advanced to his first-ever final round in NHRA Top...
Clay Millican Advances to First Career Top Fuel Final Round at NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals
Baytown, Texas - April 18, 2004 - Clay Millican of Team 104+ Performance Additives/Lehman Racing advanced to his first-ever final round in NHRA Top Fuel competition at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals. [headshot_small.jpg]
This feat was very special to the team, as the Spring Nationals served as Millican's one-year anniversary with Team 104+ Performance Additives, a product of Chicago-based Gold Eagle Company.
"We started off with 104+ Performance Additives at this race last year and got our career best e.t. and speed (4.505 at 330.23 mph), and this year to come here and make it to the finals for the first time ever is pretty awesome," said Millican. "It was nice to win three rounds and make it to the finals, which was our goal coming into the race."
Millican, the number seven qualifier, defeated Mark Kinsella in the first round of eliminations with an elapsed time of 4.597 at 314.31 mph. He went on to face Doug Kalitta in the second round. Millican bettered his career won-lost record against Kalitta to 2-1 with a win over the number two qualifier. [104_car_Phoenix.jpg]
In his first semi-final appearance of the season, Millican faced 2002-2003 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon, who had beaten him three times in previous semi-final rounds. Millican began hazing the tires around the 1,000 foot mark, while Dixon lost traction early in the run. Millican defeated Dixon for the second time in his career, with an e.t. of 4.810 at 287.72 mph to Dixon's 10.091 at 93.15 mph.
In the first NHRA final round of his career, Millican faced Brandon Bernstein, the number one qualifier. Millican got off to a great start, with a reaction time of 0.042 seconds to Berstein's 0.099, but began smoking the tires about 400 feet into the run. Berstein smoked his tires around the 1,000 foot mark, and held on for the win with an elapsed time of 4.695 at 271.79 to Millican's 5.032 at 238.81 mph.
"It was disappointing to lose," said Millican, the three- time IHRA Top Fuel Champion. "Our team is used to winning when we go to a final round, and it has been a long time since we lost in the finals. If you make it there, you definitely plan on winning."
Millican will compete in at least 8 NHRA races this year, while also competing a full IHRA schedule and going for his fourth consecutive Top Fuel Championship in that league with Team Werner/Lehman Racing. His next race is the IHRA Spring Nationals in Rockingham, N.C. on April 23-25, and his next NHRA event is the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn., his home state, on April 30-May 2.