The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returned to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for a second-straight week where Clay Millican powered to the Top Fuel qualifying lead at the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals. Bob Tasca III also nailed down the top spot after two rounds of Funny Car qualifying.
Millican leads the Top Fuel field after a run of 3.829-seconds in his Mike Kloeber-tuned Parts Plus dragster. Millican smoked the tires on his second attempt Saturday afternoon, but his earlier performance was strong enough to fend off all challengers. The event marked the 24th time that the popular pro has topped and NHRA Top Fuel field in his career and the first time since last year’s Sonoma event.
“it’s just awesome after the long break. We were No. 1 last week but we didn’t get a chance to maintain it,” said Millican. “To maintain it today is really cool. We didn’t make a good run right there. They had a leak in the clutch can and I don’t know if that maybe made me shake the tires. It doesn’t matter. Part Plus is number one baby.”
Leah Pruett qualified for both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock fields with her Mopar dragster landing in the second spot with a 3.850 best while Shawn Landon and Antron Brown are also solidly in the show with runs of 3.855 and 3.856 respectively. Billy Torrence, the winner of last week’s E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals, finished in the No. 10 spot and as a result, he’ll have to race his son, two-time world champ Steve, in Sunday’s opening round. The Indy field will not include Cory McClenathan, who smoked the tires on both qualifying runs. McClenathan tried desperately to pedal his Nordic Boats dragster during Sunday’s second run, but his 4.802 run missed the bump spot.
Bob Tasca III missed last weekend’s event while recovering from a case of COVID-19 but showed no ill effects by driving his Motorcraft Quick Lane Ford to an impressive 3.991 in Q2 to steal the top spot from Tommy Johnson Jr. Tasca was not qualified when he staged for his second attempt, but crew chief Mike Neff maintained an aggressive approach that resulted in the only three-second Funny Car run of the day. This is the fifth time that Tasca has qualified No. 1 and his first pole since last year’s Seattle event.
“Welcome back to NHRA Drag Racing,” Tasca said. “I’ll tell you, being No. 17 going into that last session but I just have so much confidence in [crew chief] Mike Neff and Jon Schaffer. You just don’t want to screw it up. Once it went past half-track that thing was singing.”
Johnson, a finalist at last weekend’s race, held on to the No. 2 spot with a 4.01 while Tim Wilkerson was perhaps the day’s most consistent racer with runs of 4.034 and 4.043 from his Levi, Ray, and Shoup Mustang. There was also plenty of drama down the ladder as last week’s winner, Matt Hagan, needed a Hail Mary run to make the field. Outside the top 16 when he staged for his final qualifying run, Hagan managed a 4.274 in his Mopar Charger Hellcat, which is adorned in a special paint scheme this weekend. Hagan’s reward is a round-one…