Joey Miller Ready to Take Next Career Step with Daytona Debut 19-Year-Old Goes From Short Tracks to Superspeedway in One Year's Time LAKEVILLE, MN (February 1, 2005) -- Some drivers spend their entire careers trying to get to Daytona, but for...
Joey Miller Ready to Take Next Career Step with Daytona Debut
19-Year-Old Goes From Short Tracks to Superspeedway in One Year's Time
LAKEVILLE, MN (February 1, 2005) -- Some drivers spend their entire careers trying to get to Daytona, but for some rising stars it doesn't take long to make it to the sport's marquee track.
It hasn't taken 19-year-old Joey Miller long to break into the national motorsports scene. The Minnesota native was learning the ropes on the ASA National Tour at the beginning of last season, but branching out from that division since then has really given a boost to Miller's career. He had several good runs late in 2004 in a few of the NASCAR Auto Zone Elite division races and he won his first-ever ARCA start for Hagans Racing in August at the Nashville Superspeedway. He came from two laps down to pull into victory lane in that event.
Next up for Miller is the chance to turn more heads in what will be his biggest start to date -- the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 at Daytona International Speedway on February 12th. The season-opening ARCA event will be the first time Miller gets to race on a true superspeedway, yet he isn't willing to settle with just turning laps on a big track-- he wants to excel there.
"Racing at Daytona for the first time will be pretty neat," said Miller. "There will be a cool factor involved in just saying, 'I've done that and I've raced there', but it's still just another racetrack and I'm a driver. I'm just going out to compete just like I do for every race."
In pre-season testing, Miller was 11th quickest of the 49 cars assembled at the track.
"We have a good car," said Miller. "If we can put ourselves in the right position, we should be right up front for the race."
But the true story of his equipment is not even close to being told by his Daytona test. The car is the same one that Ryan Hemphill used to finish fourth at Talladega last year after coming from the back of the field. The engine in the car for the test was a utility piece and not the best powerplant that the Hagans Racing team can put together in their in-house engine shop.
"We didn't have a real good motor in the car," said team owner Matt Hagans. "It was a two-year-old test motor that had not been freshened. We were down 20 horsepower with that and we'll be back with something much better for the race."
Having a good car under him is one less thing for the rookie driver to worry about.
"I am going to have a learning curve at this track," said Miller. "But I feel that I will have a good enough car to overcome that. It should be good enough to allow me to make a few mistakes. The first three-quarters of the race, I'll be busy learning. I'll be learning the whole race actually, but after that point I hope to have learned enough to be competitive and bring home a good finish."
In testing, Miller was able to practice drafting with his team owner who is also a part-time ARCA regular. Both of their cars were among the top 15 in testing and the experience was a good one for Miller.
"It's a little bit of a different experience," said Miller. "It is definitely different than just running side by side on a short track."
Hagans was also impressed with what he saw.
"Joey did really well," said Hagans. "He adjusted real quickly to the track. He was comfortable and had a good line."
When qualifying kicks off for the race, Miller will be ready. Even though the speeds are much higher, getting around Daytona without any traffic is a little bit simpler than running wide open on the tracks that Miller is used to.
"At Daytona, you are not right at the edge of spinning out all of the time," said Miller. "You are wide open all of the time, but it's a lot different than at a short track. We can't do much with the car in qualifying because they impound the cars afterwards and have you run the same set-up for the race. We tested our race set-up and it's pretty good. We should have a good race ahead of us."
The Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 will be broadcast live on Speed Channel starting at 4pm on February 12th.
Hagans Racing is competing full-time in the ARCA Re/Max Series in 2005 in hopes of capturing the Rookie of the Year title with Joey Miller. Country Joe Racing, which is in partnership with Hagans Racing this year, is Minnesota's #1 professional racing organization.