Joey Miller's Strong Run Ends Early In Pocono POCONO, Pennsylvania (Monday, August 6, 2007) -- 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year Joey Miller returned to competition with a vengeance this past weekend at Pocono Raceway and for the first...
Joey Miller's Strong Run Ends Early In Pocono
POCONO, Pennsylvania (Monday, August 6, 2007) -- 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year Joey Miller returned to competition with a vengeance this past weekend at Pocono Raceway and for the first fifty circuits, Miller proved to have one of the fastest cars on the track. Unfortunately, a huge melee in the tunnel turn on lap 56 ended his day and a shot at his sixth career ARCA victory.
Making his second start of the season for Minnesota's Country Joe Racing, the veteran driver inched his way into the 2.5-mile track looking to continue his ARCA domination and send the team into their second victory of the season.
His third trip to the triangle track started off on the right foot with a solid practice effort. Despite battling a tight issue, the Country Joe Racing (CJR) team headed up by crew chief Mike Chaffee offered to make some adjustments to the No. 32 Youngfield Homes-Country Joe Pizza Dodge Charger.
"We unloaded pretty strong," said Miller, who finished second in the ARCA championship standings during his rookie season in 2005. "I think the adjustments we're going to make will pay off for us. The field is very competitive, but we're going to give it our best shot."
In ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, Miller wheeled his CJR machine around the facility in a time of 54.700 seconds at 164.534 MPH netting him 11th on the starting grid.
"The changes worked," said Miller, who made his 28th career ARCA start Saturday. "I want to thank all the guys on the Country Joe Racing team for all their help this weekend. We have a strong car; I'm looking forward to the race."
At the start of the Pennsylvania 200, Miller quickly began his march towards the front. Just two laps into the 80-lap event, the Farmington, Minnesota native had worked his machine into the top-10.
With the first caution flag waived on lap five when Justin South lost an engine, Miller had positioned himself seventh on the rundown. Miller reported to the crew that his car was handling great.
Miller continued to fight towards the front but when Justin Marks wrecked on lap 11, the team asked Miller to bring his machine down pit road for a pit stop on lap 13. The main focus was to add Sunoco Racing fuel to the No. 32 automobile setting up for a potential span of long green-flag racing.
On the restart, Miller fought hard and battled back through the tight field to roar his machine towards the top-10 again. By lap 25, Miller had worked his way into the 13th position and was quickly closing in on the lead pack.
When the caution flag waived approaching lap 34, Miller was shown fourth on the rundown and eyed the lead.
On the restart, Miller maintained himself in the top-five but he would be forced to bring his No. 32 back onto pit road again on lap 46 when Miller reported he had a right front flat.
Luckily for the team, race leader Landon Cassill also experienced his share of problems after blowing a left front tire in turn one. The caution flag waived which allowed Miller to remain on the lead lap.
The team suffered no damage and changed the dismantled Hoosier tire and sent their driver back into competition.
On the restart, Miller would again begin his march towards the front, but his run would be halted when Bobby Gerhart made hard contact with the wall in the tunnel turn forcing a whole gaggle full of cars to be swept into the incident. After making contact with another competition, Miller was trying to pull away from the accident scene when he was rear ended by Phillip McGilton in the No. 47, who had nowhere to go.
The damage was too severe for the team to continue forcing a disappointing 31st place finish.
"We had a good car, a really good car," explained, Miller. "It's disappointing that we had the flat tire, but we still had a long way to go and a car capable of finishing in the top-five. I saw Bobby hit the wall; I slowed up and got collected. I thought it was done, then I got drilled from behind. It's a shame. The team doesn't deserve this."
Miller continued, "I enjoy competing at Pocono Raceway, we've had good cars the three times we've been here, but we've been unable to finish in two of them for reasons beyond our control. Again, I want to thank the team for everything and I wish them the best of luck next week in Nashville."
"Joey Miller did an exceptional job, just as he always does for Country Joe Racing," said Nate Thiesse, Director of Operations for CJR. "It's unfortunate. We thought we caught a break when the tire went down, but Joey was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We thank him for giving us 100 percent this past weekend."
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the 15th event on the 2007 schedule with a return trip to Music City at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tennessee. The TOYOTA ARCA 150 is scheduled for Saturday, August 11 set to roll off live on the SPEED channel at 3:30pm Eastern Time.
Michael Annett who made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut with CJR at Iowa Speedway earlier this year will return to the seat of the No. 32 in Nashville. Annett will look to score his second ARCA SIM Factory pole award with the team while hoping to better third place run in his inaugural ARCA debut.