NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR CHAMPION L.W. MILLER TO PARTICIPATE IN GEOFF BODINE BOBSLED CHALLENGE
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 2, 2008) -- L.W. Miller is quite accustomed to driving at high speeds. The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion will trade the familiarity of going fast on four tires and asphalt for a new experience this week to travel along on a specially-designed sled at speeds upward of 100 mph on a downward-winding course made up a sheet of ice.
Miller and several top NASCAR drivers will get a unique chance to go fast in a different manner as they participate in the 3rd Annual Chevy Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y. The event runs Thursday-Saturday.
"I watched a little bit of it last year," said Miller, the driver of the No. 36 John Baker Plumbing & Utilities Pontiac. "With Whelen Engineering sponsoring it and being involved in NASCAR, it has given a lot of the drivers that race in the different NASCAR divisions the chance to see what this is really all about. I'm excited to be part of this pretty cool experience."
Miller is one of five NASCAR champions that will take part in the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. The Dushore, Pa. native will be joined by NASCAR Whelen Modifierd Tour champion Donny Lia and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Steve Carlson. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday and NASCAR Camping World Series East champion Joey Logano will also race.
"This year's event is a race of champions," said Phil Kurze, vice president of motorsports for Whelen Engineering and president of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. "These short-track champions will have the chance to show the rest of the competitors how talented they are. This year part of the rewards of being a champion in a Whelen-sponsored NASCAR Series is the invitation to be part of the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. Each and every one of the champions jumped at the opportunity."
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project was the brainchild of former NASCAR driver and 1986 Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine. After watching the 1984 United States Olympic Bobsled team finish well outside of medal contention, Bodine examined the situation in hopes of improving the U.S. team's future podium chances. He learned that the program had all the coaching and athletes they needed to be successful. The only problem, according to Bodine, was that the sledding technology the U.S. team was using was not up to par with that of the top programs like the Swiss and the Germans.
Bodine proceeded to partner with Chassis Dynamics and Whelen Engineering to build a bobsled for the U.S. athletes. It was an idea that led to the creation of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project that has since put the U.S. Bobsled team into Olympic medal contention.
The Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge was started three years ago as an avenue for the project to raise funds, as well as awareness.
Miller admits that had it not been for Bodine, he probably wouldn't know a lot about the idea of racing bobsleds against one another on an international stage.
"Geoff's involvement in the project really brought it to the attention to a lot of people in the NASCAR world," Miller said. "It's really neat that Geoff has been involved with the bobsled project since he got out of racing. It's cool to have a tie with all the drivers and fans of NASCAR. Geoff has really opened the doors now."
Much like Bodine, Miller says that his patriotism towards the United States is a strong motivational factor in wanting to see the American Olympic bobsled team improve and prosper.
"I think that anybody that has followed my racing career knows that I'm a very patriotic person and very proud to live in the United States of America," Miller said. "I want to do anything I can do to support our country -- whether it's the Olympic bobsled team, the Armed Forces or anybody else that represents our country. That is something that means a whole lot to me personally.
"The people on the bobsled team are representatives of our country and they carrying our flag. To me this is something that really hits close to home and I'm very grateful to be a part of raising some money for the Olympic bobsled team to carry the torch for our country in the future. I'm excited about it and it's going to be a lot of fun."