By Lee Elder
ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 6, 2018) – Clay Millican earned his 19th top qualifier award, taking the top step on the eliminations ladder in Top Fuel for the NHRA AAA Texas Fallnationals at the Texas Motorplex. Eliminations will be held Sunday.
Millican nearly swept the table for qualifying points, taking 11 of a possible dozen during the four qualifying sessions. The qualifying points are crucial in Millican’s chase to catch Steve Torrence for the category lead in the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship playoffs system.
“We did not quite achieve that,” Millican said of earning every possible qualifying point. “We were two points in one session. (Countdown leader) Stevie (Torrence) out-ran us by six thousandths. … We got 11 points out of 12, that’s half a round. We’ve done that a couple times now. Essentially, the bonus points have kept us within one round.”
Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) also qualified at the top of their category list.
Millican’s 3.726 second, 328.54 mph pass earned him his ninth top qualifier award this season. The top qualifier in each professional category in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series wins a green ball cap, the event winner gets a yellow cap.
“We’re working on trying to even out or green hat to yellow hat ratio,” Millican said with a grin. “We have 19 number ones to three wins, so we’ve go to work on that some.” He added, “It will be a different day tomorrow. I think we’re expecting a little more rain tonight. The temperature is going to be different. But I got to say this racetrack is phenominal. Both lanes, incredible.”
Torrence qualified second to Millican and Tony Schumacher was third.
Tommy Johnson Jr. lost his spot atop the Funny Car ladder Saturday, then got it back. Bob Tasca, III wrested the top spot away at the end of the third round, but Johnson got it back in Q4 with a pass of 3.918 seconds and 321.73 mph. Tasca got the second spot and Tim Wilkerson was third.
Coughlin held on to the top spot in Pro Stock after posting a lap of 6.599 seconds and 207.53 mph Friday night. Greg Anderson and Jason Line were next in the order. It was the 27th time in Coughlin’s career that he has qualified first in Pro Stock and the fourth time he’s done it in 2018.
Eddie Krawiec’s pass at 6.873 seconds and 196.07 was good enough to earn him his 42nd top qualifier cap in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Matt Smith and Hector Arana Jr. were next.
NOTES: Shane Tucker and Robert River did not qualify in Pro Stock. … Todd Simpson and Jack Wyatt were the Funny Car non-qualifiers. Wyatt did not make an attempt in Q4. …The Top Fuel non-qualifiers were Cory McClenathan, Terry Brian and Terry Totten. Brian and Totten did not make Q4 runs.