SMT: Champion's off season

DEFENDING NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED CHAMPION L.W. MILLER WAS A BUSY MAN IN THE OFFSEASON L.W. Miller had a busier than usual offseason. But don't expect the defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion to complain one bit...

DEFENDING NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED CHAMPION L.W. MILLER WAS A BUSY MAN IN THE OFFSEASON

L.W. Miller had a busier than usual offseason. But don't expect the defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion to complain one bit about all the activities he's been involved with since clinching the title at Caraway Speedway last November.

That's because Miller's hectic winter schedule is a direct result of his first NASCAR championship. Miller will attempt to defend that title when the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour opens the season Saturday, March 22 back at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.

Miller opened the 2007 season with a victory at Caraway and won three more times at the historic .455-mile oval. He was sixth in the season finale at Caraway to win the championship by 25 points over runner-up Tim Brown.

Without question, the highlight of the winter for Miller was the trip to New York City last December where he took part of the NASCAR Champions Week. Miller earned the invitation as a NASCAR champion and took part in a week full of honors and activities. He was presented a Bell helmet by NASCAR President Mike Helton -- which was subsequently signed by all of his fellow NASCAR champions -- and capped the week as a guest at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards banquet.

"That was one of the coolest things I've ever had the experience of doing," Miller said. "To be able to go to New York and spend several days with all the other champions was one of the highlights of my racing career.

"I've won several other championships in the past, but to be invited to hang with all the other NASCAR champions was the ultimate. It really shows how serious both NASCAR and Whelen are in treating their champions like royalty."

Miller's return trip to New York was a little colder. And just as cool.

Miller attended the 3rd Annual Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge Presented by Whelen in Lake Placid, N.Y. the first week of January. Miller was invited by Phil Kurze, vice president of motorsports for series sponsor Whelen Engineering.

Lake Placid is the training ground for the U.S. Olympic Bobsled program that former Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine has played an instrumental role in advancing the technology of the team in their hopes at achieving a Gold Medal.

"That was definitely one of the wildest things I've ever had the chance to do," Miller said. "I'm used to going fast in a race car around the track, but going that fast down a chute of ice was pretty thrilling. I really didn't know what I was doing at first, but I got settled down and ended up being pretty competitive. That was a cool deal."

In fact, Miller posted the fastest time of the first round of final runs and finished second overall -- just .72 seconds behind champion Boris Said. The event was aired later in January on SPEED.

What little quiet time Miller was also able to find was spent time deer hunting around his hometown of Dushore, Pa.

Now it's back to work.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers L.W. Miller , Mike Helton