Rookie pilot's day ended prematurely in first lap incident TORONTO, ON (JULY 18, 1999) - After making changes to their car for the 45-minute main event on Sunday, successful improvements that made themselves apparent during the warm-up laps, ...
Rookie pilot's day ended prematurely in first lap incident
TORONTO, ON (JULY 18, 1999) - After making changes to their car for the 45-minute main event on Sunday, successful improvements that made themselves apparent during the warm-up laps, rookie Formula Ford pilot Marc Miller's planned charge towards the front of the F1600 field ended before it could even begin. The event was the 14th annual Toronto Molson Indy and with both the CART Champ Cars and Dayton Indy Lights teams in attendance, a strong showing was hoped for by Miller and his new team, Adams Racing. The tight nature of this temporary street circuit bites a number of drivers each year and on this occasion, Miller was one of them. It was the method in which Miller was stung however, that made the end result even tougher to take.
With the car performing the best it had all weekend, evident during the full-speed warm-up laps, Miller started the race on the tenth row. After getting a solid launch that allowed him to advance three positions as the field made their way onto Toronto's long backshute, a four-lane city road known as Lakeshore Boulevard, Miller was prepared for the usual bottleneck of cars that traditionally occurs on the first lap. As the drivers funneled through the tight first-gear right-hander at the end of the straight, contact was made between two other drivers and the resultant spin blocked all but one lane of the track. Although Miller identified the problem quickly as he neared the accident site, many of his fellow competitors did not.
After bringing his car to a safe stop in front of the melee, ready to pounce on the first opening around the wreckage, Miller was subsequently struck by another car and the resultant damage to his KGB-sponsored Van Diemen was severe enough to put a premature end to his day. Bent suspension pieces on the right front corner put Miller's car behind the wall, leaving the young charger with a long walk back to the paddock with a 35th place finish. Yet despite the disappointment of not being able to show his true potential and the team's ability to engineer the car into a competitive package, Miller is happy with the teams road to the final.
"We had a great race car today and with that said I don't think I can express my true disappointment with this result," offered a dejected Miller. "Even though we were caught a day behind with set-up, something that can happen with a rookie driver and a new team, I felt that we had put together a top five car in our very first outing. Unfortunately we were unable to show our potential."
Miller and his Team KGB are now focusing their efforts on the sixth race in the Canadian Formula Ford Championships, an event scheduled for August 28-29 at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, ON. During last year's Canadian F1200 Driver's Association Championship campaign, Miller locked up the Rookie-of-the-Year honors with two series wins at the challenging racetrack to end the season and is excited about the upcoming event and his Mosport return. The track is very fast and equally as technical, characteristics that put the facility high on Miller's list.
"I hope to redeem myself and showcase the abilities of Adams Racing when we head to Mosport at the end of August," added the young driver. "The track is one of my favorites and with the success that I had there last year, I know that we'll be competitive right off the trailer, a luxury we didn't enjoy here in Toronto."