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CAUGHT: Texas-Sized Top Fuel Tantrum

A massive fireball erupts from Clay Millican’s Parts Plus Top Fuel dragster as he attempts to leave the Texas Motorplex starting line in the third qualifying session at the Texas NHRA FallNationals.

Millican’s Rick Ware Racing team rebuilt the engine and came back for the fourth and final qualifying session, eventually settling into the No. 11 spot once qualifying was complete. In a top-end interview during Sunday eliminations, the humble yet excitable driver claimed responsibility for the explosion, noting that he didn’t check the oil pressure meter before he staged. He went on to beat Justin Ashley and Mike Salinas before losing to Leah Pruett in a semifinal rematch of the St. Louis final round, where Millican beat Pruett for his third win of the season. 

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #185, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in Nov/Dec of 2023.]

Photograph by Randy Curtis
Texas Motorplex
Ennis, Texas
Saturday, October 14th, 2023

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