NHRA Veteran Loses 19-Year Sponsor, 2021 Season in Jeopardy

·3 min read
Photo credit: Marc Gewertz/National Dragster 2019
Photo credit: Marc Gewertz/National Dragster 2019

From Autoweek

  • Terry McMillen and Terry McMillen Racing face an uncertain future after losing its main sponsor.

  • McMillen is a two-time winner in the NHRA, including his win at the 2018 U.S. Nationals.

  • 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, is unsure of whether or not he'll be returning to the series in 2021.

The 66-year-old Top Fuel Dragster driver announced on Wednesday that after 19 years together, Terry McMillen Racing and the Amalie Oil Company are ending, or at least suspending, their sponsorship relationship.

The decision by Amalie is part of a restructuring within the company that includes suspending all of its motorsports sponsorships.


McMillen, who made his NHRA pro debut in 2007, is having one of the best seasons of his NHRA career. He's fifth in the points standings with three races left in the season. His previous best season finish was ninth in the standings in both 2017 and 2018.

McMillen won the 2018 U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.

Losing a sponsorship now leaves McMillen's 2021 season and future in the series in doubt.

“I can’t thank Amalie Motor Oil enough for the support they have shown me over the past 19 years,” said McMillen. “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 product so when the economy turns around they will be ready.”

McMillen said that the move was directly related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its effect on the global economy and the drop in demand for oil and Amelie products.

"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.”

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