Weathering the stormTuesday, July 10, 2012
Posted by: Terry McMillen, Amalie/UNOH Top Fueler

Given the mild winter we experienced at the shop in Elkhart, Ind., I should have known the summer months would be anything but mild. It has been hot here in the Midwest, with a couple crazy thunderstorms, and quite honestly I enjoyed our mild winter more than this weather. Last year I would have welcomed the uncharacteristically hot temperatures, as it seemed our car performed much better in the heat, which allowed us to be more competitive with the bigger teams. This year is a whole new ballgame, and I am over the heat!

The folks at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio know how to put on a good show for the fans. Despite the 150-degree track temperatures, fans filled the stands Friday and Saturday. If you were there, you are well aware that there was not one drop of rain that hit the track over the weekend. Oddly enough there was a black rain cloud that hovered over the Amalie Oil Pit Friday, which eventually created a thunderstorm that down poured on our team Saturday afternoon, when we failed to qualify for the race.

We have been improving with every race, and though we are in the 12th position in points, the top ten has always been within reach. When you don’t qualify for a race it puts you that much further behind the number 10 and 11 spots, and the chance of getting into the top ten this year seems to be slipping away. I am not giving up faith yet, because I know anything can happen and we have five races left to make a move, but a setback is a setback and that is exactly what happened when we didn’t qualify this weekend.

My guys work extremely hard, and I know that we will get things turned around for Denver. I’m blessed to have a team in which every guy has a positive outlook on our future, and I know they won’t let the storm we encountered keep their spirits down for long.

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We are fortunate that the storm in Norwalk didn’t damage any parts and pieces on the car, and once our spirits are healed, which won’t take long, we will forget the storm even existed. I wish the same could be said about my friend and huge supporter of our team, Nitro John (@nitrojohn on twitter), who also was the victim to a major storm last week, only this storm was worse than us not qualifying. A Derecho storm with 90-mph winds ripped through the RV park that he and his wife run in New Jersey leaving everyone in the park without power several people with damage to their RVs. You can see from the photos it was pretty devastating. Fortunately and amazingly no one was hurt, but he is in need of help. If anyone is interested in helping him and the residence out, they could use the following: bottled water, non-perishable food, first aid kits, portable generators, and dog food. Send items to Buene Vista RV Park, C/O John Amorosano, 775 Harding way- Buena, NJ 08310.

Until next time please follow us on Facebook or Twitter! See you later!


Birthday cheer and get-well wishesFriday, June 15, 2012
Posted by: Terry McMillen, Amalie/UNOH Top Fueler

I am from a family of eight kids. Between the eight of us having kids and those kids having kids, our family has become quite large. Needless to say keeping anything from my mom is virtually impossible.  Somehow by the grace of God, the eight of us (minus my brother Kurt, who was unable to attend), were able to put a birthday party together which took my mom by huge surprise and it was awesome! 

Last Sunday we had as many people in the family as possible come to my place to celebrate mom’s birthday. She knew we were having a cookout, but didn’t expect the shop to be decorated with balloons and a “Happy Birthday” sign. It was really cool seeing the look on her face when she entered the shop! Like I said it is hard to put one past mom, which made our surprise quite an accomplishment.

The afternoon was pretty fun. We had the gator golf cart in the shop, which I think nothing about. The kids however, thought it was really cool. They took turns driving it around the yard (with an adult on board). I can honestly say I was more nervous riding passenger on the golf cart with my nephew Niko driving than I am getting into my dragster! We also enjoyed some fishing. The fish were biting like crazy, which makes it much more exciting for the kids.

The day ended when we presented my 76-year-old mother, with the gift she has been wanting for a while. We all pitched in and got her an Ipad. Between her Iphone and now her iPad, she may be more technologically inclined than I am.

In the midst of all the happiness with the birthday party, there has also been a little tragedy. One of my friends, Ryan who drives the Wheelie Wagon Wheel Stander, was injured while testing his car on June 3. He sustained severe neck and spinal injuries. Many people have been praying for his full recovery, and every day we are blessed to hear of steps in the right direction that Ryan is taking. We are planning a fundraising event for Ryan and his family on June 24 at Osceola Dragway in Osceola, Ind., where the accident happened. We would love to see as many people as we can out there. For more information you can visit my Facebook page There will be a silent auction, mini car show, 50/50 drawing, and of course drag racing. It is actually the National Dragster Challenge that day at the track.

Wishing all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day and will be back blogging soon!

Topeka and the week aheadWednesday, May 23, 2012
Posted by: Terry McMillen, Amalie/UNOH Top Fueler

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.

Gone FishingFriday, April 27, 2012
Posted by: Terry McMillen, Amalie/UNOH Top Fueler

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!

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