Topeka has proven to be a good track to the Amalie Oil/UNOH team in the past. As a full-time NHRA Top Fuel driver, I got my first round-win in Topeka. You may remember us joking about getting the monkey off our back when I won that round. I also was able to win a round there last year. Some tracks are just better for some teams, and I thought Topeka may be that track for us. I was hoping that after destroying two motors in Atlanta we would have a better outcome in Topeka, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. We destroyed a motor on Friday, another on Saturday, and a third on Sunday. There is nothing more devastating than coming back to the pit with the rods kicked out of the motor. To add insult to injury, we got penalized for putting oil on the track. I will say, however, that I do see hope in the future of the team. We ran our quickest e.t. on Sunday even with an unhappy motor near the finish line. Unfortunately, our quickest time wasn’t fast enough to beat Bernstein, but I think we are getting closer to having a car that is more competitive and that will go rounds on Sunday.
Between now and Englishtown, I have a lot going on. It is probably a good thing, so that I am not sitting around mourning the loss of 5 motors. I am taking the car to a display at Marv and Tom’s in Elkhart on Wednesday. They are our newest Amalie Oil customer, and they are only 10 minutes away from the shop. Thursday I am speaking at the Elkhart Career Center. I love going there especially since many of the students end up going to UNOH to further their education. Saturday is the big car show at Lane Automotive, which is also home to Motorstate Distributing and All Star Performance, who are our marketing partners. The car show is huge and I encourage anyone in the area to stop by! We will be starting the car as the grand finale to the cacklefest.
Other than that not much more is going on. You can always follow us on Twitter, @terrymcmillen, or on Facebook in between blogs.
The greatest form of relaxation, in my opinion, is going fishing. Whether it is in the ocean, on a great lake, or in the pond in my yard, I love taking time to go fishing. I don’t eat the fish I catch, and would rather catch and release. After all, it is the chase that I love. I mean, you never know on any given day what size fish or how many you may catch. I wish I had some great fish tale (with a picture to go with it) about a huge fish that I caught recently, but I don’t. I have however, enjoyed a little bit of relaxation over the past couple weeks enjoying the spring weather and making it a point to spend some time fishing with my family and friends.
One of the reasons I bought the house I live in, is because I loved the small pond on the property. I know there are many different types of fish living in the pond, but I like to fish for bass. Rarely can you go fishing in my pond and catch nothing, which makes it fun when we have people over who want to fish. Recently, my buddy Taylor, who drives a Jr. dragster, came by the house. While her mom and Cori caught up on things, Taylor and I went fishing. I hate to admit it, but I believe she caught more fish than I did that day. However, I blame it on the fact that I had to help her get every fish she caught off the hook, which took away from my fishing time. Not a good enough excuse, I know, but worth a shot!
The day before leaving for Houston, I was able to enjoy time fishing with my son Andy, his girlfriend Jess, and her daughter Adalyn who came over to spend the afternoon with us. It was really cool to see the excitement on Adalyn’s face when she was able to reel in a fish! Surprisingly enough she even held it on her on for photos. I am pretty sure Adalyn was the only person who caught a fish that day since we let her reel them all in, but I have to admit spending time with my family and watching them enjoy themselves was better than me catching the most or biggest fish that day.
Competition is something I love to be a part of on and off the track. So far this year, Cori has caught the biggest fish of the season, and I have caught the most. I look at it like this: the biggest fish is like your ET and the most fish is your mph. Yea it is cool to catch a lot, but the biggest fish is what counts. I’ll keep you updated throughout the summer to let you know who is in the lead. I am confident I will take home the Walleye (that’s our fish trophy) by the time the summer is over.
We are in Houston now ready for some racing. I am anxious to see how a little hot weather mixed with some humidity plays part in the race weekend. It is usually a good thing for teams like mine, who don’t put the fast numbers down in cooler conditions like the bigger teams do. We will have an on air google+ hangout going on this weekend, so follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get a link to it. We will also be taking you all in the trailer to meet one of our crew members and give you an idea on what his role is on the team. Wish us luck and talk to you soon!
The biggest misconception I have found is that people think when I am not racing I have a ton of free time to do whatever I want. There are days that I certainly wish that were the case, but I think I would go crazy if I wasn’t constantly working. Most of the time I spend away from the track, I am working with my marketing partners or working on developing new relationships with potential partners. So instead of getting a break between races, it is actually kind of like a break when I am at the track, because racing truly is the easiest part of this business. With that being said we have made a lot of friends out of our marketing partners, and I have enjoyed spending time with many of them here recently.
Vegas is always a hot spot for our partners located out west. They can come to a race, but also enjoy the thrills of Vegas. Our West Coast Amalie rep, Tina, was there with Jason, who heads up our new Amalie Oil Quick Lube program. We met Jason a year ago here in Vegas at the race … who would have thought that a year later he would be working for Amalie, and have opened the very first Amalie Oil Quick Lube? Andrew from Genius Tools was also in Vegas. If you have never heard of Genius Tools, which I hadn’t before I met Andrew, let me tell you how great their product is. Soon we will have them available on our Amaliestore.com website. Until then, find them on Facebook and “like” their page because you could win free tools. Dave Clinton from Darton Sleeves, Joy and Chris from Ross Pistons, Danny from Cool Image Water, Bill from Clean Seal, and Chris Johnson from Armed Forces Racing were all in Vegas with us (I really hope I am not forgetting anyone). We also had a special visit from Lou the star of Operation Repo, who was at the race to visit the Fueled by the Fallen cars.
Upon returning home from Vegas, I got to head up to see Scott and our friends at Motorstate/All Star Performance. Their facility is amazing. They are in the process of making some All Star Performance tire covers for the dragster and I can’t wait to see how they turn out. With the talk of all this marketing partner stuff, I should mention something about having a 2nd car. People continue question when the other car I own will debut on the NHRA circuit. I am not directly involved in the funding process for this car. Armed Forces Racing, is currently working on securing a “founding sponsor” to support their racing program. I am looking forward to bringing awareness to Veterans issues while getting data from the 2nd car, and I know once they are able to get their program up and running many people will benefit. I feel honored that they want to use Terry McMillen Racing to get their message out there. Until they are ready to run the 2nd car, I am going to continue to concentrate on getting the Amalie Oil/UNOH Top Fuel dragster down the track consistently and competitively.
Now on to Charlotte where I get so see more of my marketing partners. Crossing my fingers my good friend Mark from Flatout Gaskets will be able to make it. I know Rick from Amalie and Bill from Clevite will be there, and who knows who else will stop by along the way. Don’t forget you can watch us on Google+ on Saturday from our pit. You can also see us on YouTube, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter (@terrymcmillen)
Warm temperatures and sunny skies in Gainesville hopped on board our motorhome and came back to Elkhart, Ind., with us. Unfortunately the great weather wasn’t the only thing I brought back from Gainesville. The Thursday following the race I started to feel like I was getting sick. By Saturday, I could hardly move. Knowing that the Las Vegas race was just around the corner, I decided to visit the doctor so that I could get some medicine. The doctor seemed pretty convinced it was a sinus infection, but decided to test me for the flu anyway. Did you know they can test for the flu? One line you are fine and two lines you have the flu, just like a pregnancy test. Sure enough the test was positive for the flu. According to the doctor it would take seven to 10 days to recover, and I found out seven days later that he wasn’t exaggerating.
Even though I had to spend the majority of the time I had at home on the couch recovering, I still managed to enjoy the great weather we had. Last year we skipped spring and went right into summer, but not until June, so I didn’t get to enjoy being outside and at home as much as I would have liked to. Sunny skies and warm temperatures in March was quite the treat especially after the flu. I mowed the yard twice, treated the pond, power washed the deck, planted a couple of new fruit trees, and enjoyed a little fishing in the pond.
One day before we left I got a surprise visit from two former Elkhart Career Center students who are both currently attending the University of Northwestern Ohio. One of them even received the Hoosier Thunder Motorsports scholarship. One of the many cool things about UNOH is that they don’t charge out of state tuition, so the scholarship money will have the same benefit to anyone who is awarded one.
We are hoping that the changes we are making to the car continue to pay off this weekend in Vegas. I know it doesn’t seem like we have done anything spectacular this season, and we haven’t, but every round we are one step closer to having a more consistent race car, and consistency is a huge contribution to succeeding out here.
Make sure you follow facebook.com/terrymcmillenfans for updates here in Vegas. We also tweet about what’s going on at the track so follow @terrymcmillen But the really cool thing you can do is join me in the pits by signing up with google+ and joining our hangout this weekend live from the pit. We will have hangouts on both Friday and Saturday, and I must say it is pretty cool. Just add Terry McMillen to your circle and you will be notified when we start the hangout!!
Until next time have a great one!!