Clay Millican Scores First NHRA Victory at Bristol

Winner's Circle

Top Fuel

After piloting his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster past Kyle Wurtzel, Brittany Force, and Steve Torrence, Tennessee native Clay Millican would be forced to face Leah Pritchett in the final round. While the Girl On Fire would put up one heck of a battle during Sunday’s final elimination round with a pass of 3.881-seconds at 307.09 MPH in her Papa John's dragster, Millican would prove that Bristol was his territory after a 3.825-second pass at 316.38 MPH to become the 103rd different driver to win in Top Fuel.

This being Millican’s ninth final round of his career, he was glad to see what seemed like a curse lifted in his hometown.

“I love what I do,” said Millican. “There were times I ever wondered if this was going to happen. I don’t deserve this credit. I’m really happy for David Grubnic and all of the boys who work on this car, and I mean that 100 percent.”

While both Pritchett and Torrence would fall short to Millican’s dominating performance in Bristol, both the Wonder Woman of Top Fuel and the current points leader Torrence will take their points battle into Ohio next weekend at the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

Funny Car

While the Top Fuel Series would produce a first-time winner at Bristol, this track would leave a very familiar face on the podium in the Funny Car Series.

After taking down Kalitta Motorsports driver Alexis DeJoria as well as Robert Hight and his fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, defending Funny Car world champion Ron Capps would move on to yet another final round against his other teammate Jack Beckman.

While the entire Don Schumacher team was on pins and needles wondering who they should root for, it wouldn’t take long to realize that Capps is one of their top drivers after he tied current record holder John Force with most Funny Car victories at Bristol Dragway with a blistering pass of 4.054-seconds at 317.05 MPH.

“We had runs on Sunday against four of the toughest cars, drivers, and crew chiefs combined,” said Capps. “There are not very many teams who are that prepared to pull a car out and have a quicker setup than we were and my team just keeps amazing me with producing one of the most powerful Funny Cars out there.”
Capps dominating performance this season also has him seeing gold as he continues to rule the 2017 Funny Car points battle. In fact, runner up Matt Hagan is going to have to step it up if he is going to come back from a current 163 points battle to take down the new Funny Car Phenom this season.

Pro Stock

Bristol, TN has long been a famous place for racing and producing winners.

While Top Fuel driver Clay Millican scored his first NHRA career victory at Bristol, Pro Stock Series driver Alex Laughlin would score his first Wally of the 2017 season and second of his career with a perfect reaction time in Sunday’s final elimination round.

After racing past No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr., Allen Johnson and rookie Tanner Gray, Laughlin would move on to face current Pro Stock points leader Bo Butner in the final. While Butner has proved that he is nothing to shake your head at, Laughlin knew that his team had given him the most competitive car in the lineup.

With a pass of 6.718-seconds at 205.04 MPH in his Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet Camaro in the final round it is easy to see why this driver had the confidence to win on Sunday.

“We had some good matchups all day and I definitely feel like I had a point to prove,” said Laughlin. “We had a competitive car on the starting line and I came into this weekend with the confidence to win.”

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season will continue at 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals June 22-25 at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all your NHRA coverage!

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About Ellen Richardson 130 Articles
Ellen Richardson is the author of Behind The Wheel for RacingJunk.com. This automotive sports junkie has a passion for telling an athlete's story while also covering various racing activities. Find out more about her at ellennrichardson.wordpress.com or follow Ellen on Twitter at @ellennrich or Instagram at elnrich33.
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