Millican Falls Short of Fourth Straight Final Round at NHRA Route 66 Nationals Joliet, Ill. - May 23, 2004 - Clay Millican of Team 104+ Performance Additives/Lehman Racing lost in the first round of Top Fuel eliminations at the NHRA Route 66 ...
Millican Falls Short of Fourth Straight Final Round at NHRA Route 66 Nationals
Joliet, Ill. - May 23, 2004 - Clay Millican of Team 104+ Performance Additives/Lehman Racing lost in the first round of Top Fuel eliminations at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals, dashing his hopes of advancing to a fourth straight final round in NHRA competition. [headshot_small.jpg]
Millican, the number 11 qualifier, faced number six qualifier Darrell Russell in the first round of competition. Millican was set to race in the left lane, but Russell's crew decided to switch lanes just before the run, as the previous two cars in the left lane had won. Since Russell had the better qualifying position, his team had lane choice. Millican made a clean pass with an elapsed time of 4.619 at 294.95 mph, but Russell crossed the finish line first, with an E.T. of 4.558 at 315.78 mph.
"We did not have our best weekend, and with all the crazy weather, we just never got in our groove," said Millican. " We are very disappointed that we didn't run better. I am really excited with how the team has done in the last few races in the NHRA, though, and I still think our team is wicked awesome."
In their last three NHRA races in Houston, Bristol, and Atlanta, Team 104+ Performance Additives/Lehman Racing advanced to the final round of eliminations. In those races, Millican defeated several top drivers, such as David Grubnic, Doug Kalitta, Scott Kalitta, and Larry Dixon. The team was hoping to make it to a fourth consecutive final round at their hometown race, as both Lehman Racing and Gold Eagle Company, the manufacturer of 104+ Performance Additives, are based in Chicago. [104car_Phoenix.jpg]
Millican's first-ever NHRA Top Fuel race was at Route 66 in 1998, when he drove the Chicago White Sox- sponsored Top Fuel dragster. That year, Team Owner Peter Lehman graduated from college at Northwestern University in nearby Evanston, and has since led the team to three consecutive IHRA Top Fuel Championships, while also racing a limited NHRA schedule.
Millican will now take a two-month hiatus from the NHRA circuit, as he and Team Werner/Lehman Racing will focus on winning their fourth consecutive IHRA Top Fuel Championship. The team's next race is the IHRA ACDelco Nationals in Richmond, Va., on May 28-30. The team's next NHRA race will be the O'Reilly Mid- South Nationals in Memphis, which is just 40 miles from Millican's hometown of Drummonds, Tenn.