By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Amalie Motor Oil had suspended its 19-year relationship with Top Fuel Dragster Pilot Terry McMillen. The coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of funding for McMillen’s team.
While the announcement was made on Wednesday, the separation will begin following the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. At this time, McMillen has no idea if the sponsorship will return in 2021.
Effective immediately, Amalie Motor Oil has suspended all of its Motorsports sponsorships. In 2019, the two sides agreed to extend the partnership.
“I can’t thank Amalie Motor Oil enough for the support they have shown me over the past 19 years,” said McMillen, the 2018 U.S. Nationals Top Fuel national event winner. “It is not a cliché, this company was part of my family. They stuck by us as long as they could and we are agreeing to suspend this sponsorship with no hard feelings. They have gone above and beyond to be fair with my team financially. We just reached a point where it didn’t make good business sense for either of us to move forward. They are a great company and I can’t say enough nice things about how they have treated me and this team over the years.
“Starting today, we are exploring new opportunities. Right now it is key to keep Amalie employees working and making products so when the economy turns around they will be ready.”
McMillen will also evaluate his options with the team in the coming weeks, as well. One of the older racers, he may want to spend more time with his wife Cori and young son Cameron.
But he hinted that he would like to continue racing.
Sponsorship can be tricky. Sometimes, it can fall into a person’s lap, like it did with Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Chris Marshall. Or it could take months — sometimes years — to find a new sponsor.
Eight-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher did not compete again until 2020 after losing the U.S. Army sponsorship at the end of the 2018 season.
“I certainly understand why this happened and I remain very hopeful that we will be back sometime next year,” said McMillen, a two-time national event winner. “My crew chief Rob Wendland and my entire team have done an amazing job giving us a car that can compete with anybody on any given day. Anyone that has followed my racing career has seen the struggles I have had over the years. What Rob has done to turn things around is something that I will never take for granted. Rob, his family, and my entire team mean the world to me. This certainly is a setback, but I am not going to say it’s the end.
“Amalie has supported us through the good, the bad and certainly the ugly. When other teams were laying off their crew during the height of the pandemic, Amalie made sure that I was able to keep my team intact and employed. I know that this decision was extremely painful for Amalie, as it is for me, but I look forward to what the future has to offer, and I won’t give up hope that I will be back on the track in a competitive fashion again one day.”
Terry McMillen Racing was founded in 2007. He began racing in the IHRA, before making the switch to the NHRA in 2010.
In 2018, McMillen went to a career-best five final rounds in a season. He has made eight final round appearances with two career wins.
McMillen’s final round appearance with Amalie Motor Oil — barring a final round appearance in Texas — was at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil when he lost to Steve Torrence.
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