As a 22-year-old rookie on the Monster Jam circuit, Dalton Millican believes he's got about the coolest lifestyle possible. And few would argue.
When the More Monster Jam tour roars into the Royal Farms Arena this weekend, Millican — who lives in Drummonds, Tenn., just north of Memphis, and is the son of six-time Top Fuel International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) champ Clay Millican — will be propelling one of those huge beasts through the air, slamming against other competitors and making it all look oh-so-thrilling. Which, he promises, it is.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I originally was racing ATVs. Well, I guess I should start back. My dad was a top fuel drag racer, he still is.
Instead of going down that path and drag racing, I just fell in love with motor sports on dirt, like ATV motor crawls, worked my way all the way up to the pro class. I mean, it was all about knowing where I wanted to go, what's the next level, what can I do to get to the next level.
It ended up being Monster Jam. I went ahead, went through Monster Jam University, went through all, the physical conditioning, the mental conditioning. And here I am now, driving the Monster Jam. It's unreal ... it's unlike any tour they've ever done before.
WHAT IS IT LIKE WHEN YOU GET INSIDE ONE OF THOSE TRUCKS?
You know, you're just sitting there, waiting for them to tell you to fire up. As soon as you drop through that tunnel, it's just, like, I feel like I become part of the truck or something.
As soon as I'm done with my run or whatever it is I'm doing, I'm pulling out and I'm gasping for air. I didn't realize how much it took out of me. It's unreal. It's a pure adrenaline rush.
Without a doubt, you're aware of them the whole time. That's what we do it for. People ask me if I get scared or nervous – that goes out the window when you see them kids and those families out there smiling, cheering.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE, THE FIRST TIME YOU GOT BEHIND THE WHEEL OF ONE OF THOSE THINGS?
To be honest with you, I watched a lot of YouTube videos. I watched a lot of videos of how the truck reacts, just trying to listen to the throttle, just trying to prepare myself mentally for what I thought that was going to be.
The hardest thing for me getting used to was working the rear steer. You don't just steer the front tires, you steer the rear tires, too.
IS THERE ONE THING ABOUT THE MONSTER JAM THAT IS JUST THE COOLEST THING OF ALL?
I'd have to say it would probably have to be the fans — how cliched that sounds. I've been in a bad mood, and then some little kids comes up to me, smiling and wants my autograph, and that would turn my mood just completely around.
Also, getting to go out there and do an awesome freestyle run — that's insane, too. It's kind of a win-win.
Monster Jam is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St. tickets are $20-$60. royalfarmsarena.com.