Clay Millican only made one run on Friday at the NHRA New England Nationals, but he made it count. The driver of the Parts Plus / Laris Motorsports Insurance Top Fuel dragster took the provisional pole with a 3.795-second pass at 326.71-mph.
Millican experienced problems with the delay box on his dragster, preventing him from running the first session. That same problem plagued the team in Norwalk at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, but it wasn’t until prior to the second session that crew chiefs Mike Kloeber and Jim Oberhofer identified the problem.
“The guys were definitely frustrated,” said Millican. “But I felt like the best thing I could do was stay out of the way and know that they were going to take care of it. When I got out of the car after running that 3.70, the first thing Kloeber said … well, he said a bad word first, but then he said we could have gone so much quicker if he hadn’t needed to play it safe on the tune-up.”
Despite the setback, Millican is chasing his second pole of the season and first since the duo went No. 1 at the Virginia NHRA Nationals. More importantly, Millican is looking to go past the second round for the first time since reaching the final round at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte back in April.
He’ll have his hands full, despite it being only a 13-car field at the NHRA New England Nationals. History is on the side of the single-car team. The duo of Millican and Kloeber have won at New England Dragway scores of time while competing in the IHRA, though Millican maintains that data does them little good.
“Because of the clutch discs we have now, that data basically does us no good,” said Millican. “It’s the same parts and pieces and the same motors, but we basically have to throw all of that stuff out the window.”
Richie Crampton and Doug Kalitta followed in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions for Kalitta Motorsports, though neither cracked the 3.70 range. Their Toyota Racing teammate, Antron Brown, ran a 3.848-second pass to slide into the No. 4 slot while Scott Palmer rounded out the top five. Dom Lagana held down the quick half of the field.
VIDEO: Dan Mercier drove through an explosion in the second qualifying session, which you can see embedded below.
The third qualifying session is set for 2 p.m. Eastern at New England Dragway. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.TV and on FS1.