Slade Miller Indy ORP preview

Former Road Racer Sets His Sight on the "Night Before the 500" Indianapolis, IN (May 24, 2007) - Just three years ago, Slade Miller attended his first Indianapolis 500. As he walked through the tunnel under the track, he looked at his sister...

Former Road Racer Sets His Sight on the "Night Before the 500"

Indianapolis, IN (May 24, 2007) - Just three years ago, Slade Miller attended his first Indianapolis 500. As he walked through the tunnel under the track, he looked at his sister and said, "I want to be here driving in five years." Of course he did. I'm pretty sure every driver said that the first time they set foot on the grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Three years to the day after Slade made that comment, he is gearing up to drive another equally as esteemed race at O'Reilly Raceway Park. You may have heard of it, it's the "Night Before the 500."

Quite possibly, this is the biggest midget race in the country. The only one that could top it might be the Chili Bowl, but it's in Oklahoma (coincidentally where Miller is from) and it's in the middle of winter.

Slade began racing karts at a young age with the support of his father, who runs a road-racing prep-shop in Oklahoma City. Following in his father's footsteps, Slade went on to drive Formula Fords in the U.S., and claimed the SCCA National Midwest Division Championship in 2004. He was the recipient of the Team USA Scholarship, which has jump-started many young drivers' careers, including Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice and Indy 500 driver Jimmy Vasser. The scholarship gave him the opportunity to drive Formula Fords in New Zealand in 2005. Slade then went on to compete in the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Series where he claimed a second-place finish at Mid-Ohio last fall.

After much deliberation this past winter, Slade decided to alter his career path. He "traded in" his Formula Ford 2000 for a pavement midget, and after only three races under his belt, Slade will admirably take to the track Saturday for the 62nd Toyota "Night Before the 500." He will drive for his father's Quantum Mechanics' team, who recently opened a shop in Indianapolis for the summer to be closer to the tracks and suppliers.

"I've had to learn very quickly. I'm obviously at somewhat of a disadvantage to these other drivers who have been doing this for years. This is a new type of racing for us, but we're getting there, and I have never had more fun in a racecar. The USAC community has been very helpful and supportive and it has made this transition for us much easier," explained Slade.

While it's not the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Slade is nearly as ecstatic as if it was. The 21-year-old who recently moved to Indy from Edmond, Oklahoma says he's not given up on that dream of the 2.5 mile oval, but for now, he'll focus on the night before.

-credit: sm

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Buddy Rice