JOEY MILLER FINISHES RUNNER-UP AT NASHVILLE 19-YEAR-OLD MAKES UP GROUND LATE AND MAKES LAST-LAP PASS FOR SECOND LAKEVILLE, MN (March 28, 2005) -- It was anything but a boring week for Joey Miller and the ...
JOEY MILLER FINISHES RUNNER-UP AT NASHVILLE
19-YEAR-OLD MAKES UP GROUND LATE AND MAKES LAST-LAP PASS FOR SECOND
LAKEVILLE, MN (March 28, 2005) -- It was anything but a boring week for Joey Miller and the #9 Hagans Racing team as they competed in the ARCA event at Nashville Superspeedway. The team reacted to every setback of the week by ratcheting up their efforts and overcoming whatever was in their path.
First, Miller lost his crew chief early in the week. No problem there; the team still was able to qualify fourth out of more than 60-entries posted for the race.
Next, Miller was battling within the top five when he was assessed a penalty by ARCA officials for the way that he blended back onto the track after a pit stop. This left him at the tail end of the lead lap with less than 30 laps to go.
No problem there either. Miller rocketed back towards the front and was able to make a daring last lap pass on the outside for second-place at the finish line.
"I'm just so excited about this weekend," said Miller after the race. "We lost a crew chief right away this week. You are down on things and you are like "oh geezz." But we pulled everything together and did it well and did it right. This was our first weekend using our new pit crew out of Minnesota and that worked well. We've got a crew chief by committee system and that actually worked out pretty well. "
The penalty was a result of a misunderstanding when it came to race procedures.
"We had to come from the back a couple of times," said Miller. "The first time was my fault. We were coming off of pit road and there was a wreck and I went right out onto the track. The first caution, that is what we did, so I was just thinking that we could do it again. I messed up. I guess I need to study the rules again."
Having to come back through the pack required some heads-up driving and Miller was able to balance the right amount of aggressiveness and patience to stay out of trouble and still pass as many cars as possible.
"On that next to last restart, I was just being a little too conservative," said Miller. "On the last restart, I knew I had to go, so I tried to get a really good restart without buzzing the tires. I knew what I was going to do and it all worked out in my favor. We just didn't get a good enough run to get the leader coming to the checkers."
The obstacles that were overcome and the second- place finish go to show how good of a combination that Miller and the Hagans team are together.
"It was just really exciting to have the opportunity that I've got," said Miller. "We can now see what we actually can do when we work hard at it."
With the finish, Miller now sits second in the standings to the guy who has won the last five ARCA championships. Only five points separate Frank Kimmel from Miller, who is showing that he is able to look at the big picture on the track even as a rookie.
"This whole season, I want to win as much as I can, but I'm just trying to drive as smart as I can," said Miller. "If I got a third-place car, then I'm going to take third place. I'm not going to try and go for first and wreck it. We need to look at the big picture. I think we had a first-place car, though, today, but through circumstances, we just finished second. We messed up a little bit, but you've always got to learn from it. You just take it from this race and build on it."
The ARCA RE/MAX Series next visits the Salem Speedway on April 24th.