Clay Millican became the quickest Top Fuel driver in the world over the weekend with an astonishing 3.628 second run over 1000 feet. While the Tennessee native is a gun driver, he will happily tell you that the brains behind the performances come from his crew chief - Australian expat David Grubnic.
Millican (pictured above) said pre-season testing was gruelling for the team, but qualifying at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California delivered immediate results.
“He tried a lot of things in testing and while we didn't have the results, he kept saying 'just let me keep working out what I am doing,'” Millican explained. “He said 'some of the things I have tried will probably never be seen again, but some of the things I am doing, I see something there.'”
The 3.628 run surpassed the Parts Plus team's own record of 3.631, set last year in St Louis.
“(David Grubnic, pictured above) is in the 10%. Ninety per cent (of tuners) follow the 10%,” Millican said “To be honest he is one of a kind, because he runs this car completely different than anyone else out here and he is just a bad dude.
“Incredible numbers and it is only the second full run on that car. Grubby will tell you that yes we are all excited and it is awesome to reset our own national record but he still hasn't really got a grasp on this car.”
That new car is a Don Schumacher Racing chassis, marking a shift from Brad Hadman tube the team has run previously. Millican has used Hadman cars for 18 years as a driver, but when Hadman retired DSR was the best option.
“The DSR cars are obviously very successful but David Grubnic does not run his car like everybody else out here,” he said. “I had no question he would figure it out.”
The most astounding part of the run aside from the final number was the 60 foot time, an other worldly .809. Millican said tyre shake earlier in the event let the team know the car wanted more power thrown at it.
“Q3 we went an .816 60 foot and it was shaking at 40 feet. Grubby said he was strangely excited that this car has that much bite to go that quick while shaking. Shaking typically means that you have not given it enough power, he has got to continue to figure out what this chassis wants.”
As impressive as the new NHRA national record was, Millican said the team are ultimately seeking wins rather than top qualifying honours.
“Grubby don't care about green hats (that top qualifiers receive), he wants more yellows (that winners receive). And I have a Wally at home who is lonely – he needs some brothers.”
Check out video of the awesome 3.628 second run below.