June 1, 2003

Horse Sense: Dan is grateful to Rick "Billy" Irvin for his dedication to this car. "I would struggle to race without Rick," Dan says. "I probably wouldn't even race if it wasn't for [him]." He also thanks the entire staff at Livernois Motorsports, Norma Wallis (his mom), Scott Amesse, and all his sponsors: Griffin Radiator, Meziere, ProCoat Powdercoating, Wires & Pliers (wired the car), Brodix (heads), JE Pistons, AFCO (shocks), GRP (rods), LA Billet Crankshaft, Bassani Xhaust, MSD Ignition, Neal Chance Converters, and Precision Turbo.

Dan's 7.17/198 mindblower started as a body-in-white at Keith Engling's Skinny Kid Race Cars shop [(248) 889-2542]. Paint is by Carl McCullach, and-as is the rest of the car-it is flawless. The front end is a carbon-fiber nose courtesy of Mark Wil-kinson at RaceCraft Inc. Wing, parachute and mount, wheelie bars, and all external details are courtesy of Skinny Kid (aka "The Real Slim Shady"). Rims are Weld Aluma Stars that wear M/T front-runners and a variety of M/T rear tires-the biggest of which are 33x10.5W steamrollers.

Since 2000 it has been difficult to pick up a Mustang magazine and not find something in there about Dan Millen and the amazing cars he's built from his Livernois Motorsports speed shop [(313) 561-5500]. We featured his '01 NMRA Super Street Outlaw championship car in our May '01 issue ("White Frightening," p. 108). Since then, and during Dan's run to the NMRA SSO '01 championship, 5.0&SF has been filled with stories of the exploits of this 26-year-old phenom.

The interior of this monster Outlaw car shows off the handiwork of Skinny Kid and the detailed perfection of the Livernois Motorsports crew. The full 25.1C-certified cage work keeps Dan safe and headed in a straight line. Inside are a full array of Racepak gauges, race seats, a removable steering wheel (to aid entry/exit), and the two rods and one reverser of the Hurst shifter for the Lenco three-speed trans in the transmission tunnel. While Dan has broken a used Lenco five times during his '02 run, the new unit in the car has been flawless. Dan can't thank Marty Chance of Neal Chance Converters enough for the dedication he has shown to this car and its performance. Datalogging is via a V300 Racepak. Dan typically launches at 5,000 rpm, shifts at 8,600 rpm, and goes through the finish line (at close to 200 mph) at 8,600 rpm. What a ride!

While his '92 notchback may have raised the bar in SSO competition with consistent 7.90s at more than 180 mph, Dan soon turned his attention away from the class. At the end of 2001, he slapped a bigger turbo on the car, along with a set of 29x10.5W tires, to try his hand at Outlaw-10.5 heads-up racing. The car responded with a 7.61-second e.t. at more than 187 mph, but it wasn't really competitive and the chassis was worn out.

You are looking at 1,800 hp of Livernois Motorsports' finest. The record-setting 369 ci of small-block Ford consist of a 9.2-inch-deck Ford Racing Performance Parts aluminum block, an LA Billet steel crank, GRP aluminum rods, 8.8:1 JE forged pistons, a Billet Fabrication oil pan, a Petersen's wet-vac oil pump, and a custom Livernois camshaft of undisclosed dimensions. The Brodix Neal heads have been CNC-cut in-house at Livernois, and they flow 380 cfm on the intake and 260 cfm on the exhaust (at 0.800-inch lift). Lifters and rockers are by Jesel, and they work with 2.18-inch Stealth titanium intake and 1.625-inch exhaust valves that are fabricated from a custom material. The Edelbrock Yates intake has also been ported by Livernois' Rick Swain. All engine assembly was performed by Livernois' Dennis Kline. The throttle body is a 90mm Accufab piece, which gets 28 psi from a Precision turbocharger (either 91, 101, or 106 mm) through a "small" Spearco intercooler mounted under the dash.

"We knew the car could have gone 7.50s if it had to," Dan says, "but we didn't want to turn it up. There were three reasons why we built this new car. We wanted something we could run anywhere-NMRA, NMCA, FFW, and the Outlaw-10.5 races. Safety was also a concern-especially now with the announcement that any car that can go more than 170 mph will have to be 25.1C-certified. And, the old car was built to go 8.60s, not 7.50s. We had really pushed things with [the '92 coupe]!"

You know where Dan headed-right back to Keith Engling and his Skinny Kid Race Cars chassis shop. Keith is the quiet genius who has helped his clients put together some of the hottest cars in the industry. It was Keith and Dan's vision to build a car that could compete in all those venues. That meant having a car that would be limited to a real 28x10.5-inch tire and ladder-bar suspension at NMRA SSO to the extreme of running 33x10.5W tires and a full-on four-link rear suspension. Combined with sanctioning-body turbocharger restrictions, that also meant being able to adjust for as much as a 500hp swing from the 91mm head unit to an outrageous 106mm unit. It was a groundbreaking project that no one else had ever attempted, but Keith sat down with his computerized suspension-design board and came up with an arrangement that would work. The project was a go by November 2001.