Montgomery, AL — The 27th Annual Mickey Thompson Million Dollar Race saw a record 496 entries in competition, making it the highest payday in the history of the event. When the dust and smoke cleared, 23-year-old Tucker Kanselaar of Iowa was crowned the 27th winner of the historic and prestigious Million Dollar Drag Race. Kanselaar defeated Rayce Tarleton of Salem, AL, the last remaining door car left in the race.
The hype of the Million was at its peak as thousands tuned into MotormaniaTV, racers crowded the starting line, and families cheered on their loved ones as first-time champion Tucker Kanselaar was added to the prestigious list of past Million Dollar Race Winners.
Tom Stalba was the lone semi-finalist. Jason Lynch, Wayne Gibson, and AJ Ashe were the quarter-finalists.
Kanselaar said “I’ve been in a lot of final rounds at home and just could not turn on the last win light. I’ve also been here at the Million a couple of times and made the Big Split and couldn’t get it done. Today was different. I told myself that I’m not going to worry about the money and the split, I’m going to win the entire race.”
“I managed to make it to the split, a couple of rounds after the split, I told myself it’s game on. I fortunately defeated Shane Carr, Johnny Labbous Jr, and that gave me extra confidence. I knew that if I kept doing my thing and stayed on the tree, things would work out.”
In an emotional runner-up celebration, Rayce Tarleton revealed the gender of his expecting wife in a “gender reveal” winner’s circle, stating that he and his wife are expecting a baby girl in May. Tarleton carried his bye-run for five straight runs and into the final round where he cashed in on a mega payday.
Tarlton said “the competition here is very tough and I knew I needed to lay down good laps without going red. We were able to pull it together today and keep the rounds going. I was a little nervous throughout the rounds, but we all know that routines help in these kinds of situations and I stuck to my routine.”