Changes for Stringer Performance NHRA Top Fuel Team

David Grubnic, who led Clay Millican to his first three NHRA national event Top Fuel wins is out at Stringer Performance after the 2018 season. The Australian and the North Carolinian have been a potent pair over the past few years and this year scored back-to-back wins at Topeka and Joliet, sparking their team to a current second place in the Top Fuel standings.

Their consistency on the track brought Millican to the brink of a dragster title in NHRA competition, to go with his success in IHRA. That wasn’t enough for Doug Stringer, the owner of the team for whom Millican drives. Recently, the ownership team changed to Straight-line Strategy Group, and they elected to bring Mike Kloeber to the party as crew chief for Millican’s Parts Plus, Strutmasters rail for 2019 and beyond.

It was Kloeber who led Millican to his 50 IHRA Top Fuel titles and six IHRA dragster world championships over a span of seven years; he’s glad to be re-teamed with Millican and Stringer. “Getting a call from Doug Stringer with the opportunity to race with this team provides a path to conclude some unfinished business for us all – winning [an] NHRA Mello Yello Championship,” Kloeber said.

“With the addition of partners Scott Gardner and J.J. Koehler to the team, along with Doug (whom I also share a history with), my motivation couldn’t be any higher. Their expertise and additional resources position the program for exceptional growth and performance,” he continued.

Kloeber has been out of the game for a few years since 2010 holding a variety of positions for a diesel-engine distribution company in the state of Washington. This year he joined Plexus Corp. as quality manager; Plexus is a business involved in semiconductor and automation control panel manufacturing in Portland, OR.

He was most recently involved in straight-line racing four years ago, running a few events with current E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod racer, Sidnei Frigo, when the Brazilian raced a dragster. “A reunion with Doug and Clay is the exact situation I’ve been looking for,” he said. Stringer and Kloeber worked together on the Jim Epler Rug Doctor Funny Car.

“Sometimes life comes full circle,” said Stringer. “We believe our company’s strong ties to faith and family, along with an agenda built on trust, passion and desire, together with the ability to weather storms, brought this opportunity together. Mike and Clay have had tremendous success in the past and Mike fully embraces our team’s platform and goals.”

David Grubnic’s future plans are unknown at this time.


About Anne Proffit 268 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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