McMillan wins King of Track, Pro points title
It was almost too good to be true.
Tyler McMillan accomplished something Saturday that at one point seemed impossible to achieve.
The Rifle 21-year-old not only won the 2009 Western Colorado Dragway Commercial Tire Super Pro class points title this season, he topped it off Saturday by winning his first King of the Track title.
“It was almost an unreal feeling,” McMillan said. “Growing up here at the race track watching my dad, I knew I wanted to have a race car. Winning today was almost better than the championship.
“I blew the strip and the win light didn’t come on. I was like, ‘No!’ I turned the corner and it finally started setting in, but it didn’t hit me until my dad gave me a big hug. It was an awesome feeling.
“I learned everything about racing from my dad.”
McMillan captured the 2009 Western Colorado Dragway King of the Track title in his 1970 Chevy Camaro with a small block 400-cubic inch engine.
He defeated Car Tunes Sportsman class champion Daryl Dinkel in the semifinals, then knocked off J&A Services Super Quick champion Mark Sievers in the final. McMillan, the Commercial Tire Super Pro champion, posted a 10.94-second run at 122.62 mph with a dial-in time of 10.96 in the bracketed race.
McMillan got off to a slow start this season, his first in the Super Pro class. By the third race, he started getting comfortable with his Camaro, reaching the semifinal round.
“Finally, in the Fourth of July race, I was here by myself and I ended up winning the race that day,” McMillan said.
Ten days later, his left hand was crushed in a work accident.
“We have a big tire storage rack at the shop I work at and it got stuck,” McMillan said. “I figured I could get it unstuck. The tires fell off the rack and I got my had caught in the rack.”
He had four pins inserted in his hand to help the bones heal. His hand was in a cast for three weeks and a soft splint until last month, but it didn’t stop him from racing.
“We bought an RPM shifter, put it in the car so all I had to do was put it in low gear and let go of the (transmission) brake,” he said. “All I had to do was put it in low and let go of the button.”
With his hand in a cast, McMillan had to hold his left hand close to his chest, not on the steering wheel, when he raced.
McMillan was given pain pills after surgery, but couldn’t take them while racing.
“I was taking ibuprofen every four hours just to get my hand to quit hurting,” he said. “Every time the car would launch, it felt like someone was hitting my hand.”
The pain, though, was worth it when he won his first race with his hand in the cast.
“Once you get in a groove with the car, it’s awesome,” he said. “You know what the car is going to do.
“You don’t have to win them all, you just have to keep going.”