NHRA Veteran Loses 19-Year Sponsor, 2021 Season in Jeopardy
Photo credit: Marc Gewertz / National Dragster 2019
Terry McMillen and Terry McMillen Racing face an uncertain future after losing their main sponsor.
McMillen is a two-time NHRA winner, including his 2018 US Nationals win.
The Amalie Oil Company has sponsored McMillen for the past 19 years.
NHRA Top Fuel dragster veteran Terry McMillen, who is having one of his best seasons, isn't sure whether or not he will return to the series in 2021.
The 66-year-old Top Fuel dragster driver announced on Wednesday that Terry McMillen Racing and the Amalie Oil Company are ending or at least ending their sponsorship relationship after 19 years.
Amalie's decision is part of a reorganization within the company that includes the suspension of all motorsport sponsorships.
Credit: JERRY FOSS NHRA / NATIONAL DRAGSTER
McMillen, who made his NHRA Pro debut in 2007, is having one of the best seasons of his NHRA career. He is fifth on the points table with three races remaining in the season. His best season end to date was ninth in the overall standings in both 2017 and 2018.
McMillen won the US Nationals in Indianapolis in 2018.
The loss of a sponsorship leaves McMillen's 2021 season and the future of the series in doubt.
"I cannot thank Amalie Motor Oil enough for the support they have shown me over the past 19 years," said McMillen. “It's not a cliché, this company was part of my family. You have been with us for as long as possible and we agree to suspend this sponsorship without harsh feelings. You have done everything to be financially fair with my team. We have just reached a point where it made no economic sense for either of us to move forward. They are a great company and I can't say enough nice things about the way they have treated me and this team over the years. Starting today, we're exploring new opportunities. Right now it is important that Amalie employees keep working and making products so they are ready when the economy turns. "
McMillen said the move was directly related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on the global economy, and the decline in demand for oil and Amelie products.
"I definitely understand why this happened and I remain very confident that we will be back next year," said McMillen, a two-time winner of the national event. "My crew boss Rob Wendland and my entire team did a great job giving us a car that can keep up with anyone every day. Everyone who's followed my racing career has seen the fights I've had over the years . What Rob Got It's something I'll never take for granted. Rob, his family and my entire team mean the world to me. This is certainly a setback, but I'm not going to say it's the end. "
“Amalie has supported us through the good, the bad and certainly the ugly. When other teams fired their crews during the height of the pandemic, Amalie made sure I could keep my team intact and employed. I know this decision was extremely painful for Amalie as it was for me, but I'm looking forward to what the future has to offer and I won't give up hope that I'll be competitive on the track again one day. "
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