Andersen Racing's 2009 driver roster, which is already oozing with some of the most talented young formula car drivers in the world, garnered another top name today with the announcement that Joel Miller has joined the Palmetto, Fla.-based team's...
Andersen Racing's 2009 driver roster, which is already oozing with some of the most talented young formula car drivers in the world, garnered another top name today with the announcement that Joel Miller has joined the Palmetto, Fla.-based team's Star Mazda squad, effective immediately.
Joel Miller, 21, of Hesperia, Calif., finished second in the 2008 Star Mazda presented by Goodyear Championship. He's currently third in the 2009 driver point standings with five top-five finishes in the first six races of the 13-race season.
His first race with Andersen Racing, the defending Star Mazda team champions, will be on Friday, July 10 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Miller's Star Mazda campaign is sponsored by Fader Higher Production, eSoles Custom Footbeds, Doug Mockett & Co., Burns Truck & Trailer, Brazos Bend Energy Services, ClassicStone Distributors and Sparco
"We are thrilled to be able to add another star-quality driver to our already strong Star Mazda lineup for 2009," said Andersen Racing co-owner Dan Andersen. "Joel has clear talent and experience, and he is someone we have sought since his days in Skip Barber. We expect him to win races and join our other drivers in challenging for the championship."
Miller tested yesterday with the team at the Autobahn Chicago circuit in Joliet, Ill., which will host Rounds 8 and 9 of the series on July 25-26.
That test went extremely well, according to Andersen Racing's team manager, Michelle Kish.
"My times were very close to both Richard Kent's and Conor Daly's," noted Miller of two of his new teammates. Daly, of Noblesville, Ind., is currently seventh in the point standings while Kent, of Clifton Reynes, England, is ninth. Each has one victory already this season.
Miller had a distinguished career in karting before he advanced to formula car racing, and he still lists winning the U.S. National ICA Karting Championship for Tony Kart as his most memorable racing achievement.
The native of Fontana, Calif. was awarded the Skip Barber National series full-season scholarship at the end of the 2006 season by the Stars of Karting series. He didn't disappoint them, as he won the Skip Barber National championship the following year with five victories and 10 podium finishes in 14 starts. He also was selected for the Team USA scholarship in 2007, which gave him a taste of competition in Europe. With the Skip Barber title, Mazda stepped up to the plate by naming him to its MAZDASPEED Motorsports driver development program for 2008, where he finished second in the Star Mazda series.
While doing all of this he also was his high school class's salutatorian with a 4.0 grade point average upon graduation in 2006. In the fall he'll continue his studies as a mechanical engineering major at the University of California, Riverside. He's taking a summer course with that institution now too.
Yesterday's session was not Miller's first test with Andersen Racing, as he tested one of the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars last November at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. That was his first opportunity to drive a Firestone Indy Lights car, and Andersen Racing's participation in that series is one of the reasons that Miller wanted to participate in its unique, four-step driver development program. The team offers programs in karting, Formula BMW, Star Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights as it strives to be the group offering the most comprehensive driver development program available anywhere. It is the development team of Rahal Letterman Racing, which competes in selected races in the IndyCar Series as well as full-time in the American Le Mans Series.
"That Firestone Indy Lights test went very well too," Miller noted. "I know that Andersen Racing prepares cars that can win, not only in Star Mazda but also in Firestone Indy Lights. Since my goal is the Indy 500, I need to be in the Firestone Indy Lights series. In addition to Star Mazda I hope to do some one-offs in that series this year, and run full-time in it next season."
Andersen Racing is currently second in the team standings in both Star Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights. One of its Firestone Indy Lights drivers, Jonathan Summerton of Kissimmee, Fla., led the Firestone Indy Lights points standings in May. The team's Mario Romancini is second in the current Firestone Indy Lights standings. Romancini, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, recorded four top-five finishes in the last four races, including a victory at Milwaukee.