Mike Chaffee Joins Hagans Racing as Joey Miller's New Crew Chief The 20-year-old and the short track vet go back a long way already LAKEVILLE, MN (May 11, 2005) -- The more things might change for Joey Miller, the more that they are staying...
Mike Chaffee Joins Hagans Racing as Joey Miller's New Crew Chief
The 20-year-old and the short track vet go back a long way already
LAKEVILLE, MN (May 11, 2005) -- The more things might change for Joey Miller, the more that they are staying the same.
Miller has come a long way from being a first-time entrant in the NASCAR Elite Series to a winner in ARCA competition. But one thing will be exactly the same for the 20-year-old driver during the remainder of the 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series season as it was back then - the man calling the shots from the pit box. It was announced this week that Mike Chaffee will assume the role of crew chief for Miller's #9 Hagans Racing Dodge.
The duo has plenty of history together, history that dates back to a side job that Chafee did back when he was Kevin Cywinski's ASA crew chief.
"A few years ago, I was Joey's crew chief for a NASCAR Touring race at Elko," recalled Chaffee. "That started the whole relationship between myself and Country Joe Racing. The whole Kevin Cywinski team came back from an ASA race at Indianapolis to Joey's NASCAR race."
Ironically, Cywinski now serves as Miller's Country Joe teammate and driving coach. He will be working right alongside Chaffee to help further Miller's development.
"Mike and I have a history together," said Miller. "In my first NASCAR Touring race, Mike was my crew chief. It's kind of weird going back like that. We get along really good and Kevin works right along with us and Mike was his crew chief. It's a pretty good combination. We have a lot of people who work well together."
The Hagans Racing team has a partnership with Country Joe Racing that sees the #9 speedway cars prepared at Hagans' Indiana shops, while the team's short track cars are prepared in Minnesota under the watchful eye of Cywinski.
"I'm pretty much in charge of everything at the race shop and in the day-to-day operations and Mike is in charge at the track," said Cywinski. "At the racetrack, I'll be a driver coach and mentor for Joey. I will try and keep him abreast of what is going on, if somebody is running a different line or anything like that. I'm there keeping him on the straight and narrow."
"Kevin is the organizer," said Miller. "He's the main guy in the shop. Mike is the main guy at the track and they work along with each other to keep it all going."
Miller thinks that the communication and the experience that he can benefit from in this arrangement are major advantages.
"It's all about being able to get along together and we do that very well," said Miller. "Anytime we are around each other, at the shop or the track, we talk. On the track, we communicate very well. Between him and Kevin, they can understand what I am saying when I am trying to give feedback to them."
And when it comes to drawing from Chaffee's experience, Miller knows that he is in good hands as well.
"He's got more gray hair than me, so he's been around for awhile," said Miller. "He can teach me a lot of things."
In his experience, Chaffee has worked with more than a few winners. In addition to Cywinski, Chaffee has worked with the Sauters (Jay, Tim and Johnny), and he ranks Miller's natural ability right up there with the best in racing.
"You know, he's got as much driving talent as anyone that I worked with," said Chaffee. "I worked with Johnny Sauter when he started to do touring races and Joey's right where he was. He just needs a little bit more experience. With Hagans Racing and Country Joe, he is getting into the right kind of cars right away and I think that is a very good deal."
Chaffee, Miller and Cywinski will be heading to the Kentucky Speedway this Saturday, May 14th, for the Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 150.