Alan Pittman had never won a world championship in drag racing before 2012.
Along with a number of other significant items, the standout American Drag Racing League (ADRL) Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5 driver can now check that item off his bucket list as well.
Thanks to wins in the first two events of the year, a third later in the season and a number of consistent performances, Pittman was the wire-to-wire points leader in the class as he cruised to the world championship in Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5.
The magnitude of the accomplishment wasnâ€™t lost on Pittman, either.
â€œThis is the first world championship that Iâ€™ve ever won, so this is definitely very special to me,â€ Pittman said. â€œIâ€™ve got to thank Greta and Terry Leggett for giving me the opportunity to race this car, and the ADRL for giving me a place to race.
â€œItâ€™s been a dream season and I couldnâ€™t be happier with how it has gone.â€
Pittman joined Terry Leggettâ€™s Pro Extreme team in 2011, and Leggett decided to make it a two-car team late in the season as Pittman made his debut in the Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5 class.
After showing plenty of potential, Pittman entered 2012 ready to contend for a championship. That mindset was evident immediately, as Pittman won his first ADRLevent at the season-opening CarSafe Dragpalooza event, running as quick as 3.93.
â€œOver the winter (last year), we did some things to get the car ready and we got off to a great start,â€ Pittman said.
â€œIâ€™m just thinking about everyone involved with this team and how special this is for all of us. Iâ€™m happy for the whole team and just grateful for this opportunity.â€
Three weeks later, Pittman had another tremendous accomplishment, winning at historic Bristol Dragway for the first time in his standout career.
There, Pittman ran as quick as 3.84, going 3.85 in the finals to also post back-to-back wins for the first time in his career. After the win, Pittman was overjoyed that the back-to-back win streak concluded at Bristol.
â€œThis means the world to me. I canâ€™t even hardly explain it,â€ Pittman said. â€œIn the ADRL, youâ€™ve got your work cut out over here. Itâ€™s the fastest cars in the world and the best of the best. The names here just blow you away, so I just couldnâ€™t be happier. This really does mean a great deal to me.â€
â€œI love the ADRL and their program and itâ€™s just great to be in the winnerâ€™s circle.â€
Pittman topped his fastest and quickest times from Bristol in St. Louis, where he went 3.803 at 201 mph, making it the second-quickest run in the history of the class.
Pittman, who advanced to six finals, picked up his third win at the Summer Drags in July, which gave him a commanding lead.
Leggett advanced to the finals in Pro Extreme at that race, making it an extra special weekend for Pittman.
Of course, special could have summed up the entire 2012 season, in part because of the strong friendship Pittman developed with Leggett and his family.
â€œTerryâ€™s probably one of the most easy-going and giving people Iâ€™ve ever met in my life. To be honest, this is whatâ€™s racing about. Itâ€™s been a blessing. Heâ€™s become a friend and a best friend. This is a deal people wait all their lives for,â€ Pittman said.
â€œItâ€™s hard to put a team together and a partnership that works, but to spend time with his family, it feels like Iâ€™m part of the family now. I wouldnâ€™t be here if it wasnâ€™t for him and his wife.â€
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)