LAS VEGAS, Nev. (October 29, 2000) - Johnny Miller and his #64 Automationdirect.com / UPS / Cutler-Hammer / HITACHI Corvette fell to a 31st-place finish from his fifth-place starting spot today as the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series contested the penultimate round of the 2000 championship. A broken ring and pinion gear, which acted up on the first lap and likely caused Miller to spin, eventually failed altogether, leaving Miller stopped on the side of the road after only 19 laps of the rain-shortened, 33-lap event.
"When I spun on the first lap, I thought I'd been hit by another competitor because it felt like a nudge. But after I'd looked at the tapes, it was clear there was no contact. I think now something might have broken right then. I'm getting tired of having something new break on this car every week," said a disheartened Miller. "On the upside, we found some things in the final practice last evening that we've been looking for for three races, and the car was really hooked up. After we spun, the track dried a bit and we were picking off positions pretty well. I knew something was wrong, though, because the differential was whining and howling. After the restart, it just let go. I tried to drive it slowly, to get points, but it blew out completely just a lap later. I can guarantee you, though, that we'll have a new car for next year."
Miller had qualified fifth, his eighth Fast Five qualifying effort this season, and 22nd of his 66-race Trans-Am career. The race started in damp, drizzly conditions, and his first-lap spin dropped him to 30th in the 35-car field. In just 18 more laps, he had carved his way up to ninth, turning laps that were as much as three seconds faster than those being turned at the time by eventual race-winner Boris Said. It was a stellar performance, but was cut short by the rear end failure.
Next up for the Trans-Am troops is the season finale at the San Diego Grand Prix, on November 3-5.