Long Beach: Johnny Miller preview

Miller looks to start Trans-Am season with a win in the Johnson Controls 100 in Long Beach. Long Beach, Calif. - Johnny Miller, driver of the No. 64 AutomationDirect/Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, plans to start his season with his first...

Miller looks to start Trans-Am season with a win in the Johnson Controls 100 in Long Beach.

Long Beach, Calif. - Johnny Miller, driver of the No. 64 AutomationDirect/Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, plans to start his season with his first Johnson Controls 100 win at Long Beach...for the second time. Miller, who returns as three-time Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi's teammate at Rocketsports Racing for the 2002 Trans-Am Series, initially finished 15th in the 2000 race as a result of contact on a last-lap restart melee, but was later declared the winner based on previous lap position. But the decision was reversed on appeal, giving Tomy Drissi his first career Trans-Am win.

Drissi was initially declared the winner after the 35th last-lap restart. It was later determined that lap 35 started after the 60-minute race limit had expired; Miller was named the winner based on his lead position on the previous lap. Upon appeal, the decision was reversed, and Miller was back to 15th place.

"I felt like we earned that win, but that's ancient history now," explained Miller, who did score his first career Trans-Am win at the 2000 season finale in San Diego. "What's important to remember is that we've always done really well here. We finished second last year and in 1999, and a third in 1998.

"I really do love coming to this track," said Miller, who finished a career-best third in the 2001 championship points standings. "We've come here in all different kinds of cars and run different set-ups, and this circuit just seems to suit my style.

"There are some non-rolling corners here and I tend to be early on the fuel," said Miller, who collected five top-three finishes last season. "If you don't have a long duration corner, that gives a little bit of an advantage to a guy with my driving style. In a long duration corner, I'd tend to lift again and if they're 90 degree corners, you're real fast. But on a street circuit with sweeping corners, it doesn't suit my style. I've worked on changing my style, in combination, but that's why I've done well here.

"Long Beach used to be two straightaways with a bunch of wiggles in between," said Miller, "but now, there's really something to it. It's got some medium speed corners and an added passing zone. It's still tough to pass here which makes qualifying twice as important.

"We know our way to the podium here," concluded Miller. "But this time, it's the center spot I want and the win to go with it. I'd like to think I'm done being the eternal bridesmaid at Long Beach."

-rsr-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Tomy Drissi , Johnny Miller