Millican Grabs First No. 1 Qualifying Spot

Parts Plus will return as primary sponsor of Clay Millican in the NHRA Top Fuel ranks in 2014. (Rhonda Hogue McCole Photo)
Clay Millican grabbed the first NHRA Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying position of his career Saturday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. (Rhonda Hogue McCole Photo)

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. – Top Fuel driver Clay Millican raced to his first career No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also will lead their respective categories into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations as No. 1 qualifiers at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

The Parts Plus Top Fuel team ran low E.T. of the event during Friday evening’s qualifying session and the 3.792 second pass at 321.27 mph held up as the No. 1 qualifying position throughout Saturday’s two sessions, which were ran under warm weather conditions.

It is Millican’s first No. 1 qualifying position in his 156-race career. Now the veteran driver will try to earn his first career victory. He has raced to five career final rounds, but has yet to earn a win. His latest runner-up finish came earlier this season in Gainesville, Fla.

“The No. 1 qualifying spot is incredible,” said Millican, who will race Brandon Bernstein in the opening round. “The credit goes to a combination of people that helped make this happen. The heat here I was not too worried about it. I’m so proud of this whole team. It’s really cool but anyone can win it doesn’t matter where you qualify. Tomorrow, we got to do it one run at a time. I’m certainly going to do my best.”

No one in Funny Car was able to better Hagan’s Friday pass of 4.050 seconds at 315.64 mph. The Magneti Marelli/Rocky Footwear Dodge Charger will start from the No. 1 position for the second time this season and 12th time of his career. The 2011 world champ has yet to win at Englishtown and he will face fellow Virginian Blake Alexander in round one.

“I’m just tickled to death that we’re sitting No. 1,” Hagan said. “Sometimes, it’s a curse to be No. 1. We’ve got to treat everyone with respect and just make sure we don’t underestimate anybody. We have to be cautious of what we’re doing. I’m super proud of my boys. They deserve a pat on the back for putting a No. 1 on the board this weekend.”

Del Worsham was second in his DHL Toyota Camry and will race Paul Lee in the opening round, while defending world champion Jack Beckman qualified third in his Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger and will meet rookie Chad Head in the first round.