In our continuing periodic feature on the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) website, www.ADRL.us, weâ€™re going to check in with our 2010 World Champions and see what each of them has been up to in the off-season as they prepare to defend their Speedtech â€œBattle of the Beltsâ€ titles during the 2011 ADRL Tour.
Leading up to the 2011 season-opener at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas on March 25-26, weâ€™ll be â€œCatching Up With The Champs,â€ giving a special feature to World Champions John Montecalvo (Extreme Pro Stock), Kim Morrell (Pro Extreme Motorcycle), Dan Millen (Extreme 10.5), Burton Auxier (Pro Nitrous), Frankie Taylor (Pro Extreme) and Tyler Allen (Pro Junior Dragster).
The fourth of these six â€œCatching Up With The Champsâ€ pieces takes a look at Extreme 10.5 World Champion Dan Millen and his remarkable run that continued this past winter.
Dan Millen has long considered himself a consistent driver, a characteristic made possible in part because of the identical routine Millen and his team goes through before every pass the Michigan native makes.
In 2010 and early 2011, the routine has stayed the same and the results continue to amaze nearly everyone.
For a stretch now going on seven months, Millen has put together an unbelievable run in Extreme 10.5, turning the class on its head with record-breaking runs and two World Championships.
The first came in the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) in October and he followed that by winning the championship in the Arabian Drag Racing League in February at the Qatar Racing Club (QRC).
Itâ€™s been a wild and highly-productive ride, one Millen can trace back to his teamâ€™s down-pat rituals.
â€œWhen I normally race, I just race consistent. Thatâ€™s how I race and thatâ€™s my whole deal,â€ Millen said. â€œWe have a ritual of what we do when we race.
â€œWe make sure we all do the same thing, even in testing. We try to do everything the same. As long as you program yourself to do that, you should get the same result.â€
It took a while in 2010, but when all the kinks were worked out of Millenâ€™s new Al-Anabi Racing Mustang, there was nobody better.
In fact, things have been working so well for Millen and his team that they donâ€™t dare make any drastic adjustments.
â€œOnce we got the car running well, we didnâ€™t change anything. We pretty much left it alone,â€ Millen said. â€œOver in Qatar, we really wanted to mess with it, but weâ€™ve never had a car like this thatâ€™s this good.
â€œSo, we donâ€™t see a reason to change quite yet.â€
That day will come, but Millen isnâ€™t about to mess with this golden combination at the moment. Heâ€™s the current ADRL record-holder with a 3.82 and has gone as quick as 3.78. In Qatar, Millenâ€™s consistency was impressive, especially in the â€œBattle For The Beltsâ€ race. He went 3.81 in the semifinals and then posted a 3.80 in the finals victory against Frankie Taylor in what ended up as the quickest side-by-side race in XTF history.
As Millen prepares for CarSafe Dragpalooza VII presented by LenMar Motorsports to kick off the 2011 ADRL Tour, itâ€™s still sometimes hard for Millen to comprehend the amazing progress heâ€™s made in the past year.
â€œIf anybody would have said youâ€™ll build a new car, bring it out and have a horrible first part of 2010 but win your last race and do this and that, I would have told them they were crazy,â€ Millen said. â€œI never thought we could come close to running as well as we did.
â€œI assumed we would struggle at first, but I didnâ€™t think it would be that bad. But I didnâ€™t think it would be that good of an ending, either. We really learned a lot.â€
The learning process continued in Qatar, where Millen and his team were ultra-focused on racing.
He thinks that will pay off early in the ADRL season, and Millen is hoping carrying that sharp state of mind will lead to something new in his successful career.
â€œIn all of my years of racing, Iâ€™ve never had a good showing right out of the gates,â€ Millen said. â€œIâ€™ve always had to struggled and work up to racing well by mid-season and I donâ€™t know why.
â€œRight now, it just feels like weâ€™re in between races, so Iâ€™m ready to go. It would be really sweet if we can go out and do well the first half of the (2011 ADRL) season.â€