05/19/11 After struggling through three qualifying sessions, Terry McMillen from Bremen and his Amalie Oil/UNOH Top Fuel Dragster used the fourth and final session to sneak into the 14th position for the 31st annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals. McMillen made the most of his last chance qualifying and parlayed it into a career best semifinal appearance.
“We were trying some different things in qualifying and it just wasn’t working the way we hoped. We were all a little nervous going into Q4 (4th qualifying session) and my crew did a great job of stepping up to the plate and gave us a solid A to B run to get into the show.”
McMillen’s 3.965 e.t. at 304.46mph was good enough to make the field and put the team in position to face Brandon Bernstein in round one of eliminations. McMillen had been winless against Bernstein in four tries before finally beating him in the opening round at Atlanta. The 3.096 e.t. at 313mph would best McMillen’s qualifying run and set up a second round matchup with Bob Vandergriff.
I’ve got to thank Richard and my crew for giving me a car with enough performance advantage to overcome my bad reaction times,” McMillen said. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I can promise this I’m going to work on it.”
McMillen and Vandergriff left the line together in round two and the Amalie Oil/UNOH Dragster was able to pull away giving McMillen his first semifinal appearance since joining the NHRA circuit. McMillen would face Antron Brown in the semifinals, but would fall short of the desired win. Brown would go on to win the event.
“It was a great weekend for our team,” McMillen said. “Hopefully it has given us the experience and the confidence that we need to do this on a consistent basis.”
The next stop for McMillen is this weekend’s NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.