The end result might have indicated it was an easy road for Dan Millen, but this second straight championship in Extreme 10.5 was anything but simple.
In fact, the season couldnâ€™t have started out much worse for Millen, who has seemingly always struggled at the beginning of a season.
This one was surely one of the most frustrating as the year started with a red-light exit in the first round at the first race of the season in Houston. That came after Millen qualified at 3.83, the best run in the class until Millenâ€™s awesome weekend to end the year.
Of course, what followed was the low point of Millenâ€™s season, as the car caught fire at the finish line during the Spring Drags in Florida.
Millen and his team were obviously distraught after that, but the car was repaired by Jerry Bickel in three weeks and Millen was nearly flawless the rest of the way.
That was a significant moment for Millen and his small team and the huge boost of confidence led to an impressive summer hot streak.
Millen won in Virginia in August and then took Dragstock VIII in early September at the first race where sponsor Z-Matrix Solutions officially came on board.
By then, things were going well, but another hiccup in Norwalk led to a first-round loss.
That had Millen concerned heading to the Texas Motorplex for the final race of the season, but what followed was one of the most impressive weekends in Millenâ€™s standout career.
He consistently ran in the low 3.80s, winning the Battle For The Belts against Billy Glidden, using what he called an aggressive set-up.
A day later, he continued to keep everyone at bay, running 3.82 for the second straight day and going 3.88 to knock off Grant McCrary and win the World Finals VII.
Millen could have easily relaxed after clinching the championship and winning the BFTB a night earlier, but the car continued to perform brilliantly as Millen once again showed his chops as a top-notch late-season racer.
He was at his best for the final race of the season, putting together a series of outstanding performances over the three-day weekend to continue one of the best racing stretches in ADRL history.
(Photos by ADRL/Richards/Tocher)