Salt Lake City - Miller Racing, based in Salt Lake City, kicked off its 2013 racing campaign in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series with a top-10 finish in the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 25.
Miller had a disappointing qualifying session on Thursday, only completing one lap due to an on-track incident involving other cars that ended the session early, and lined up in 25th place out of 34 cars in the Grand Sports class.
Miller took the first stint when the 2.5-hour race started on Friday and gained four positions until the first caution of the race came out 20 minutes into the event. Miller pitted for fuel only, but when the caution went longer than expected, he came back in for tires and to hand over to James.
That decision turned out to be wise, as an uncharacteristically long green-flag period followed, causing many cars ahead to pit under the green flag and allowing James to motor through the field all the way to fourth place by Lap 39 of the 63-lap race. James ran between fourth and seventh until having to pit for fuel under green-flag conditions on Lap 43. Although James rejoined the race in 13th place, the race’s second caution flag flew two laps later, prompting many cars ahead of James to pit and moving him back up to seventh place.
Unfortunately, the brakes on the Miller Racing Boss 302R became problematic thereafter, causing a “long pedal” and limiting James’ ability to race and defend his position on the racetrack. He fell back to 11th in the closing laps, but a retirement in front of him on the final circuit allowed him to take the checkered flag in 10th place.
“As we’ve come to expect,” said Miller, “the Dempsey Racing crew delivered a great car, we had a great strategy and Ian performed a miracle bringing the car home with braking issues. I’m very pleased with the result, and am more optimistic now than ever for the rest of the season. It was great to get a top-10 finish for Total Care Auto in our first race for them, and we’re looking forward to our next outing.”
“The first race of 2013 was a perfect example of how this Dempsey/Miller crew has become a well-oiled machine,” said James. “Great strategy, awesome pit stops and teammates working in unison and getting the most out of the car. A top-10 is a good way to start the season!”