Prepares for Pro Mod Debut in Screw-Blown 'Golden Gorilla'
SAND SPRINGS, OK (Jan. 11, 2021) -- Radial-tire legend
Dewayne "Big Daddy" Mills is going Pro Mod racing. Teamed
up with Pro Mod veteran Keith Haney, Mills will debut an
all-new "Golden Gorilla" 2016 Camaro--complete with a
screw-blown Hemi up front--Jan. 29-31, during the 17th
annual U.S. Street Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park
in south Florida.
"We were going to build another Radials vs. the World car
because at the time we started the deal the rules kind of
leaned in favor of the blower deal, but then Keith talked
to me about converting his old "Enigma" Camaro from RVW to
Pro Mod and it just seemed like the right time to make a
change and try something new," explains Mills, who won Pro
Drag Radial at the 2016 U.S. Street Nats with his original
"Golden Gorilla" '68 Camaro.
"You know, Enigma always ran on nitrous with me, but it
was built with a wheelbase to handle a twin-turbo or
Procharger or screw-blower combo, so we're excited to see
the way things go with this new screw motor," Haney adds.
"And Dewayne's always been a twin-turbo guy and I've
always been a nitrous guy, but we both wanted to try
something different this time, shake things up a bit."
Mills, who lives with wife Tara and daughter Kallee in
Sand Springs, OK, attended last year's Bradenton event as
a spectator, just days before undergoing life-saving
prostate cancer surgery.
"It actually was my third time with cancer in about five
years," he reveals. "I had a carcinoid on my appendix, so
they took it out and then they found a thyroid cancer and
took that out within six to eight months of the appendix.
So then I had to do some radiation and just when I was
healing up and getting back to business, we had this
prostate deal fire up about two years later. So I don't
know, it kind of knocked the wind out of my sails a little
Mills says he and Haney had been in talks about rebuilding
Enigma together since mid-2019, but late that year he
suggested Haney just sell the car since he was putting his
racing program on hold. Then he revealed his latest cancer
scare to Haney, just a month or so before undergoing
surgery late last January.
"That obviously bothered him, so when I was having my
surgery, Keith loaded the car up and got a blower motor
from Todd Martin and Todd put it in the car to get us
started," Mills says. "He wanted to do this while I was
healing up because he said, 'It's going to be too easy for
you to quit racing completely if you're out of racing.' So
when I got healed up enough to do stuff, we just start
tinkering with it, trying to get it together."
Mills then suffered a further setback last August in
Nebraska, after going through a devastating, high-speed
rollover crash in the "Golden Kong" '68 Camaro that his
daughter Kallee usually drives, during filming for the
popular "Street Outlaws" TV show (Scheduled airdate: Jan.
11, 2021, 9 p.m. on Discovery).
"I was left bruised up from head to toe and fractured an
elbow that I didn't even know about," Mills says. "And it
took about two-and-a-half weeks for the world to quit
spinning and for me to stop trying to throw up. Then I
went back to work about three-and-a-half weeks after the
Since that time Mills has been back to the track just
once, testing the original Golden Gorilla over
Thanksgiving weekend at Edinburg Motorsports Park in south
Texas. His next outing will probably come in the next
couple of weeks at Tulsa Motorsports Park, with just a few
half-track shakedown runs expected for his first Pro Mod
Originally built by Jeffers Race Cars, the new ride
features an aggressive Golden Gorilla-themed wrap designed
and applied by Kryptonite Kustomz. It carries a Brandon
Pesz-built engine, with a former Q80 Racing blower bolted
on top. FuelTech provides mechanical injection and all
power management, with the resulting horsepower running
through an M&M transmission and converter.
"You know, it's kind of a weird deal, not having a Proline
engine in the thing, but I ended up starting to put
together a spare motor and we bought the block and whatnot
from Proline, so it's not like I'm leaving them," Mills
stresses. And with so much experience and success on M/T
drag radials, he also is sticking with Mickey Thompson
slicks for his transition to big-tire competition.
At the track, Pesz will handle the tune-up, assisted by
longtime friend and tuner Jamie Miller, with additional
help coming from Mills' wife and daughter, plus crew
members John Maguda, Brenden Russell and John Miller.
"It's gonna' be a learning experience for all of us and
I'll probably blow it up a couple of times before we get
it all figured out, but it'll be good. I mean, it's
something way different for me, but you know, it's
something I've always had the goal of doing," Mills says.
Following the Florida U.S. Street Nationals outing later
this month, Mills plans to mount a full-season campaign
alongside Haney as Pro Mod teammates in the 2021 Summit
Racing Mid-West Drag Racing Series (MWDRS). He assures his
many loyal fans they haven't seen the last of him on the
small-tire circuit, though.
"We're definitely not giving up on the steel-bodied cars,"
he insists. "We've got a new car being built for my
daughter and it's gonna' be a real nice piece. We've still
got enough cars to go around, that's for sure."
Though shown still rolling on drag radial tires, Dewayne
Mills' new "Golden Gorilla" 2016 Camaro will be sporting
massive M/T slicks throughout this year after Mills makes
his Pro Mod debut late in January at the U.S. Street
Nationals in Bradenton, FL.
ABOUT MILLS RACING:
Based in Sand Spring, OK, Mills Racing is home to Dewayne
and Kallee Mills, drag racing's favorite father-daughter
duo. With support from marketing partners Atomizer Racing
Injectors, Callies, Energy Manufacturing, FuelTech,
Goodridge LTD, KHR, Kryptonite Kustomz, Menscer
Motorsports, Mickey Thompson Tires, M&M Transmission and
Proline Racing, the Mills team will take on the dual
worlds of Pro Modified and Drag Radial racing this season.