SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Sunday, November 5, 2000) Johnny Miller, 34, of Johnson City, TN, drove his #64 Automationdirect.com/UPS/HITACHI/Cutler-Hammer Corvette to his first career BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am win today at the Grand Prix of San Diego. Starting from third on the grid, Miller passed second-starting Stu Hayner on the fifth lap and season points champion Brian Simo on the 46th lap to score a 15.95 second victory over Boris Said. Simo finished third, with Chris Neville and Willy T. Ribbs rounding out the top five.
"Our car was awesome today," stated Miller, the 1996 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year. "We were just cruising. Boris made a run at me with about ten laps to go, and we both dropped our lap times into the 1:09's, but I was able to keep up a gap to him. I think if my crew chief, Quinn Conda, had asked me for a 1:08, I probably could have given it to him. I have all the respect in the world for Boris, Brian, and Stu. I think they are the best road racers in the country right now, and to win against them in a straight up fight makes me feel really proud."
Miller scored the win in his 67th Trans-Am start. Going into the race, only one driver in Trans-Am history had finished second more times in his career before going on to score a win than the six times Miller has, and that was four-time Trans-Am champion Tommy Kendall. Kendall scored seven runner-up finishes before his first win.
"This is really as much of a relief as it is exciting," added Miller, who was voted Most Improved Driver of 1998. "We've known all year we could win. We thought we had a win several times, but we just couldn't get it to stick. To come away now with a win at the last race of the year - especially with the season we've had - is a great relief to the whole crew. It's a great way to validate UPS and Automationdirect.com and HITACHI and Cutler-Hammer for all the faith they've had in us. We're really pumped going into the four month break until next season."
Miller's win lifted him from 12th to eighth in season points, and was his t hird podium finish of the year, the 11th of his career. He also finishes third in the owner's championship, which reward professionalism and presentation as well as on-track performance. His third-place qualifying spot was the 23rd Fast Five qualifying effort of his career.