Top Fuel Dragster veteran Terry McMillen has been racing for a long-time. Yet, this weekend will be very special for the Elkhart, Indiana native.
McMillen will be able to race at the same track as his son Cameron. The younger McMillen will be competing in Jr. Dragster.
In a social media post, McMillen said this may be the only opportunity he ever gets to compete with his son at the same track.
“It would be the highlight of my life,” McMillen said. “I think it’s really cool to have parents grow up in racing then have children follow underneath them and in their footsteps. To have the opportunity to race at the same track and qualify, it’s going to be rewarding, because of all the hard work that we have put into his car to get it dialed in. My team is going to take care of me on my car. It’s exciting. Those opportunities don’t come often.
“To be at a national event – where Jr. Dragsters are going to have an opportunity to qualify and showcased on TV – I think it’s great for Jr. Dragsters, because they certainly need that exposure. It’s a great opportunity for the both of us. It’s one that we’re already cherishing before we even get there.”
McMillen has been working on Cameron’s Jr. Dragster. He also said that the Jr. Dragster has been tested a lot.
This will be Cameron’s first-time racing in a Jr. Dragster event. In September 2018, Cameron went down the track at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania after he received his license.
“When we ran at Reading, he could only run 20 seconds with that motor. He still has the same motor on the car, but now we’re running 13.90’s. We ended up making a change with the clutch, ramp speed on the clutch, changing gear ratios, moving weight off the car. Right now, we’re running 13.50’s and will probably have to add one more weight to it. I have to see how much the NHRA prepped track slows the car down, because it’s glued so good. It may need less weight than I think, because it’s going to be really grippy. A single engine piston will have a challenge, because it’s going to slow that car down a lot. It may even slow it down two tenths, I don’t know.
“Right now, we’re a little bit fast and typically, you can add one pound per number to get it where you need to be. I don’t know where it’ll need to be because I don’t know how much the track will effect it. I think he’s going to go down the track and I’m going to add maybe 15 pounds to it to see how much the track slows it down. If it’s not where we need it to be, we’ll either add more weight or take it off. It’s down to that final tuning aspect at this point.”
Cameron is excited to race on the same track as his father.
“He’s fired up about racing,” McMillen said. “Once he found out that he could get in, he’s been non-stop talking about both of us being at the race track this weekend. It’s pretty cool. When I won the U.S. Nationals there, the following week, he got his license there. The stars have aligned to go back there and to have the opportunity to participate in a national event, it’s amazing to me.”
According to McMillen, approx. 66 Jr. Dragsters have entered to race this weekend at the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana. Cameron will compete against 6-to-12-years-olds.
“He’s never going to learn if he doesn’t go out there and do it,” McMillen said. “I have confidence in him. He can stage the car and he can hit a light. Hopefully, he doesn’t let himself down. I want him to be happy and have the opportunity to do it. I want him to go out there and have fun. That’s what it’s all about. I’m excited for him to have this opportunity. It doesn’t get any better than this to share the track with my son. Every time I talk about it, I get goosebumps.”
The Jr. Dragsters will have four qualifying passes on Friday night. In addition, they will receive their fifth qualifying session during Saturday morning. Eliminations for the Jr. Dragster class will begin following the first round of Top Fuel qualifying.