Terry McMillen Collects First No. 1 Qualifier

Terry McMillen earned his first No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel competition Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway. (Shawn Crose Photo)
Terry McMillen earned his first No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel competition Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway. (Shawn Crose Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – Veteran Top Fuel driver Terry McMillen qualified No. 1 for the first time in his NHRA career on Saturday, powering to the top spot during the final qualifying session of the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the fifth race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and third straight at Lucas Oil Raceway during the COVID-19 pandemic.

McMillen, who has two Top Fuel victories, jumped from 14th to the No. 1 position with a run of 3.807 seconds at 312.28 mph on his final pass of the day in his 11,000-horsepower AMALIE Motor Oil dragster. He will take on Lex Joon to open eliminations, looking for his first win of the year.

“This is amazing,” McMillen said. “We know we’ve got a really good car right now and to finally get that green hat (for the No. 1 qualifier), there’s nothing like it. Tomorrow is race day and it’s a different day, but going into the show everyone knows we’re No. 1. More importantly, my team is going to have something to remember because this was just an awesome day.”

Defending world champion Steve Torrence qualified second in Top Fuel with a 3.814-second run at 321.81 mph and Leah Pruett was third with a 3.840-second pass at 318.02 mph. Points leader Doug Kalitta starts eliminations from the 12th spot.

Johnson stayed hot in Funny Car action, qualifying No. 1 for the second time in three races with his pass of 3.976 seconds at 318.54 mph in his 11,000-horsepower MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. It is the 20th career top spot for Johnson, who hasn’t qualified outside of the top two since the NHRA restart last month. He will face Alexis DeJoria to kick off eliminations and is looking for his second victory of the campaign.

Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, who advanced to the final round at the most recent race, is second after going 3.982 seconds at 320.81 mph and DSR made it a clean sweep in the top three after Ron Capps went 3.987 seconds at 317.05 mph. Points leader Jack Beckman qualified in the 15th spot.

Coming off a victory at the most recent Pro Stock race, which was at the first event of the NHRA restart in Indy, Line qualified in the top spot in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro on Saturday, going 6.574 seconds at 208.75 mph. Line, who is retiring from Pro Stock competition following the season, earned his second straight No. 1 qualifier and 57th of his career. He will meet Robert River to begin eliminations.

Teammate Greg Anderson is a spot behind after going 6.592 seconds at 208.46 mph and points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualified third with a 6.593-second pass at 206.42 mph.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith rode to the top spot with a run of 6.807 seconds at 199.23 mph on his Denso/Stockseth/MSR EBR. It gives Smith his 39th career qualifier and he will race Kelly Clontz in the first round of eliminations. Smith, who is second in points, is looking for his first win of the 2020 season after advancing to the final round at the first race of the PSM year, which took place last month in Indy.

Eddie Krawiec took the second spot thanks to his 6.817-second run at 199.08 mph, while Ryan Oehler, the current points leader and winner of the opening race of the year, starts from third after going 6.840 seconds at 197.71 mph.

In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, which is presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars this weekend, Khalid AlBalooshi drove to the No. 1 spot for the second straight race in his ProCharger-powered Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro with a run of 5.761 seconds at 251.72 mph. The former world champ will meet Chip King to open eliminations. Jason Scruggs qualified second with a 5.811-second pass at 249.81 mph and reigning world champion Stevie Jackson is a spot behind with his 5.788-second run at 247.47 mph.