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Clay Millican Ends Round 1 With A Massive Explosion

Generally speaking, Clay Millican and his Great Clips/Parts Plus/Strutmasters team are known for going down the track without hurting parts. While it would be foolish to say they never break parts, if you think about it, rarely do you see any type of explosion or major carnage from this team. You might be able to guess by the setup that there’s an exception to this rule, and we have it captured in stunning slow motion by the awesome Fox Sports camera guys.

In a race that was strange for more than one reason, Millican lined up alongside part-time competitor Kyle Wurtzel in round one in what should have been a relatively easy, drama-free win and berth into the second round of eliminations. Clay would start the race off with a monster tenth-and-a-half holeshot over Wurtzel, who as announcer Alan Reinhardt reckons might have been distracted, but that gap quickly diminished after Millican’s dragster drove into severe tireshake just about a second into the run.

For those who don’t know, tire shake occurs when the tire actually hooks a little too well – slicks are designed to hook hard, but slip in a controlled manner, not dead-hook like a radial tire – and the tire wads up and sort of rolls over itself. This is the equivalent of running over a series of speed bumps placed inches apart at speed and drivers equate the sensation to having their heads in a paint shaker.

Millican quickly pedaled the throttle and jumped back on the gas, only to have his engine immediately drop a cylinder. While this means they’re running on approximately 7/8ths of the engine’s performance potential, it was more than enough to run Wurtzel back down and drive around him to take the win, but not before also pushing out a head gasket, and eventually kicking the rods out of the engine near the finish line in a spectacular fireball. He got the win, but it wasn’t pretty. Thankfully, there are no “style points” in drag racing.


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