By Jenn McVay, MSA / Photos by MSA Staff:
So just who is Terry McMillen besides the driver of the top fuel dragster sponsored by Amalie Oil. I had the pleasure of sitting down and getting to know just who Terry McMillen really is.
Terry has been racing for over 38 years. He got his first taste of working on cars as a child, being one of eight children; he helped his dad in his garage. McMillen’s first car was a 409 Impala muscle car. Then came his IRA days, of driving a funny car, at Bristol Tennessee.
When ask who some of his mentors were to give him encouragement, he smiled and stated, to name a few, were Big Daddy Puldone, Ronnie Socks, and Bobby Woods.
McMillen offered the advice to the younger guys/girls who want to get into racing, ”persistence out weighs resistance.” If you want it bad enough you’ll do whatever it takes.
With all the miles McMillen puts in traveling each year with his team, it makes it hard to have any free time to spend with his family even though they travel with him. So when he and his family have a weekend off, McMillen enjoys golfing, fishing, and even cutting his own yard.
McMillen has had a 14 year alliance with Amalie Oil. They treat him like family but also hold him to high standards, in which he has to account for how the sponsorship money is spent. Amalie also gets input from McMillen on how the parts are working for the car.
One of the hardest things to being a top fuel drag racer is, the equipment replacement, especially when you are a single car team. No one to share equipment info, and notes on how the car and track is doing.
McMillen also said that he owes UNAH College for the team he has. At anytime there are 36 graduates looking for a team to call home. It use to take 2-4 years for team members to have the foundation the graduates do now in only 6 months to 1 year.
Now to top off the question I ask in the beginning of this story, “Who is Terry McMillen?” He is known by most drivers as “The Instigator”.
He is persistent when he truly believes in something. Last but certainly not lease: Terry McMillen is a sensitive, passionate, caring person who thinks of others and their need and would give you the shirt off his back.
I am honored to have gotten to know Terry McMillen and to call him a friend.