It didn’t take long for Jim Oberhofer to return to NHRA Drag Racing. The veteran tuner will turn the knobs on Paul Lee’s Funny Car in the employment of Straightline Strategy Group, the race team that owns Clay Millican’s Parts Plus/Strutmasters Top Fuel dragster.
Oberhofer will assist crew chief Mike Kloeber with Millican’s dragster to begin the 2019 campaign before transitioning to a full-time role on Lee’s Funny Car. The Texan most recently worked on Kebin Kinsley’s Top Fueler and before that spent years as the head tuner on Doug Kalitta’s dragster.
Lee joins SSG following rehabilitation from a devastating heart attack two years ago. Three stents were placed in his main artery and only through aggressive rehab was Lee able to get back in the seat of a Funny Car.
“I am excited to join SSG and getting back doing what I love most, driving and competing in the McLeod Racing Nitro Funny Car in NHRA,” said Lee. “After two years of hard work recovering from my heart attack, I can hardly believe I get to go race again. Driving a Nitro Funny Car has been my lifelong passion. I’m also looking forward to teaming with Clay Millican, working with my buddy Jim-O, and excited to work with the entire SSG organization. SSG will be a powerhouse team now and into the future.”
SSG also brought three other drag racers into the fold as part of its marketing arm. The group will represent Matt Hartford, who earned his first national event win in Pro Stock in 2018, moving forward. SSG will also represent No-Prep Kings/Street Outlaw racer Jeff Lutz and AMRA Pro Fuel Harley-Davidson competitor Janette Thornley.
“Simply put, there is strength in diversity and numbers as it concerns marketing partners,” said Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Steven Cole, who was brought on board from John Force Racing during the offseason. “We can bring expanded exposure opportunities through multiple major platforms [classes] in drag racing that will no doubt prove beneficial for sponsors.”
Millican finished in third place, a career-best for the Tennessean. Longtime crew chief David Grubnic departed the team following the campaign and Kloeber was brought in to replace him. Grubnic has yet to announce his new destination.