CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 26, 2000) - About the time Danny Sullivan and Al Unser, Jr. were bringing the Dominos Pizza/Doug Shierson Racing Champ Car into winner's circle at Cleveland in the mid-eighties, an aspiring race driver named Johnny Miller...
CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 26, 2000) - About the time Danny Sullivan and Al Unser, Jr. were bringing the Dominos Pizza/Doug Shierson Racing Champ Car into winner's circle at Cleveland in the mid-eighties, an aspiring race driver named Johnny Miller was delivering pizzas in nearby Sandusky. For this year's Simple Green Trans-Am 100, part of the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland, Miller hopes he can find the winner's circle at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport when he brings his #64 Automationdirect.com / UPS / Hitachi /Cutler-Hammer Corvette to Round Six of the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series on Friday and Saturday, June 30 and July 1.
"My family lived in Sandusky while I was in college," notes the Johnson City, Tenn. resident who was also the 1996 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year. "I'd come home for the summers, and delivered pizzas for pocket money." But it was racing that caught Miller's imagination. Now in his fifth season of Trans-Am competition, the Most Improved Driver of 1998 started this year by winning the pole at the season opener at Sebring and leading much of the race. He also led at Long Beach, and has raced or qualified in the top five at every event this year. So far, though, that first career win has proved difficult to get in the record books. "The track in Cleveland is a lot like Sebring, and we should have had that one, so we think we're in a good position to have a good finish here," says the ever-optimistic Miller. "I like these big, wide-open tracks."
With striking new graphics and a rocketship theme, Miller's "alliance" of sponsors puts him in the best position he has been yet to contest for a Trans-Am win. In addition to long-time major sponsor Automationdirect.com, the online industrial control products superstore, Miller has also signed on package delivery service giant UPS as an associate sponsor. His new High Tech Trailer, which debuted two weeks ago at Detroit, features "Powered by UPS" graphics on the sides and is easily the most eye-catching in the Trans-Am paddock. Hitachi Construction Equipment, with their local affiliate Euclid Trucks, is also on board as an associate sponsor. Hitachi Excavators, Mining Shovels, Quarry Machines and Loggers offer a broader line of excavators than any other manufacturer in the world.
Green flag for the race around Cleveland's 2.106-mile, 10-Turn temporary circuit is set for 4:45 pm on Saturday, July 1, 2000. Broadcast of the Cleveland Trans-Am will be on the Speedvision Network, with the original broadcast slated for Saturday, July 8, at 12:00 pm EDT. The encore broadcast will also be on Speedvision on Friday, July 14, at 12:00 pm EDT.