Chase Miller "Can't Quit" Attitude Pays Off with Pocono ARCA Win 19-Year-Old Bounces Back From Qualifying Crash to take first-Career ARCA Triumph CANTON, GA (June 12, 2006) -- Take Chase Miller's weekend at Pocono Raceway (PA) and split it...
Chase Miller "Can't Quit" Attitude Pays Off with Pocono ARCA Win
19-Year-Old Bounces Back From Qualifying Crash to take first-Career ARCA Triumph
CANTON, GA (June 12, 2006) -- Take Chase Miller's weekend at Pocono Raceway (PA) and split it into three pieces. The first piece was good, the second was horrible, but the third provided the 19-year-old with the biggest thrill of his racing career. Miller's #4 Dodge was fast in practice, but was wrecked in qualifying. Unfazed, Miller went back out for the 80-lap race in a backup car and made it all worthwhile, patiently working through the field on several different occasions to capture his first-career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in just the young driver's fifth career start.
"This doesn't compare to any feeling that I've ever had in a racecar," said Miller of taking the win in Saturday's Pocono ARCA 200. "Winning that race was the most exciting moment of my career. I didn't even know what to say on the radio. I was speechless and that's hard to do. It was such an incredible feeling. And I know for the team it felt like we got a monkey off our backs. Everybody worked so hard and worked together so well."
The wining feeling was a stark contrast to the feeling Miller had after Pork Pole qualifying on Friday afternoon. The entire #4 Dodge crew had high hopes for time trials after posting the third-fastest time in practice, but an extremely loose racecar in qualifying derailed those plans.
"We were third quick in practice and we went to qualify. We had it taped up for qualifying and thought we had it tightened up enough by putting a bunch of rounds of wedge into the car, but the car was just on ice the whole time. On the warm-up lap I wasn't even turning the car left; I had the steering wheel turned right the whole time. I went down to turn one on my first qualifying lap and I was told on the radio that I was about a full second faster than I was in practice. I just didn't make it out of the corner before I was turned backwards.
"I slid down the short chute, caught the grass and destroyed the car. That was the hardest hit I've ever taken in a racecar. It bent stuff on the racecar that I didn't even know could be bent."
The crew and driver of the #4 Dodge kept their spirits high as they rolled the backup machine off the trailer for the race. Even though he now had to do it in a backup car, Miller still was optimistic for the 80-lap race.
"We had a good car in practice, but we definitely went to the outhouse in qualifying. I just kept trying to hold my head up and not get down and the team did the same. I knew we'd be alright. The guys told me that the car in the trailer was probably faster than the one we had to start off with anyway and sure enough they were right."
It was like the #4 didn't skip a beat from the time the green flag dropped on Saturday afternoon. Miller used a provisional starting spot after his qualifying crash, but he patiently worked his way through the field in the 80-lap race. Using the tricky outside groove at Pocono, Miller picked off spot by spot to take over the lead on lap 40.
"My car was working real well on the outside of the racetrack, especially coming out of the final corner and onto that long frontstretch. I could get on the outside line and have a whole lot of momentum going down the straightaway. We just patiently worked our way through the field and made it up to the lead around lap 40. I knew I had a good car and a car that could get to the front; I just had to be as patient as I could.
"We had to come in for a pit stop on the next caution after we took the lead and started in the back of the pack again. We worked back up and had to make another quick stop for a splash fuel near the end. Again, all we could do was be patient and try to get back up to the front. We restarted 17th or 18th and just picked them off one by one."
He may have had to do it on three different occasions, but Miller made quick work of the entire ARCA field all three times. With 10 laps remaining, Miller passed leader Mario Gosselin for the lead and checked out. He drove beneath the checkered flag, completing a perfect ending to his up-and-down weekend.
"I'm happy to win for all the guys. They bust their butts in the shop and they did the same thing at the track this weekend. We just went out there and worked as hard as we could to win the race.
"I waited for cars to mess up so that I could take advantage of it. I knew the race would come to me if I just stayed calm and kept the fenders on it. After that last stop I knew a lot of the cars in front of me still had to pit and there would probably be a couple wrecks up there because a bunch of guys were having tire problems. I just took the positions whenever I could get them, and it all worked out in the end."
With a race win now under his belt, Miller will be looking for a repeat performance in his next start behind the wheel of the #4 Dodge at Pocono on July 22nd.