TRAVIS MILLER STEERS PETE KNIGHT RACING CHEVY TO SEASON-BEST SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH AT SALEM CHESAPEAKE, VA DRIVER ROUNDING INTO FORM IN USAR HOOTERS PRO CUP NORTHERN DIVISION ACTION Mooresville, NC (June 25, 2008) -- Travis Miller will be the...
TRAVIS MILLER STEERS PETE KNIGHT RACING CHEVY TO SEASON-BEST SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH AT SALEM
CHESAPEAKE, VA DRIVER ROUNDING INTO FORM IN USAR HOOTERS PRO CUP NORTHERN DIVISION ACTION
Mooresville, NC (June 25, 2008) -- Travis Miller will be the first to admit it's taken a little while to get used to driving again after sitting out the past year and a half of USAR Hooters Pro Cup action.
On Saturday, Miller showed he's back at full strength and ready to contend for the win steering his No. 81n Pete Knight Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a second-place qualifying effort and seventh-place finish in the USAR Northern Division Lucas Oil 200 at Salem (IN) Speedway.
"We did a test on Friday and we got the car really stout," said Miller. "We made a few more in practice Saturday morning that made it even better. It just drove perfect."
Despite never having raced at the high-banked, half-mile historic Salem oval, Miller (left)had little trouble adapting to the track posting the second-best time in practice leading up to qualifying. In time trials, the 20-year-old Chesapeake, VA driver backed it up qualifying second with a lap of 17.627 seconds (113.349 miles per hour).
The outside front-row starting position was a career-best qualifying effort for Miller.
"We wanted to get the pole, but we were happy with second," said Miller. "It was pretty cool starting on the front row and getting that nice clean air. It was great being up front and not in the middle of the pack where somebody could ruin your chances pretty easily."
At the drop of the green flag, Miller wheeled his No. 81n PKR Chevy into the lead staying there for the first 37 laps. He then avoided disaster one lap later when contact with the lapped car of Tim Kerr brought out the yellow flag.
'We pulled away and led quite a bit early," said Miller. "Shane (crew chief Shane Huffman) and Wes (team manager Wes Ward) kept me focused and not nervous. We had a great car and thought we had a great chance to win the race. We thought we were going to bring the trophy home."
Miller almost saw those chances of winning go out the door when a slow pit stop took him from the lead to 20th in the running order. Undaunted, the young driver battled his way back to third position on a restart with 15 laps to go.
Unfortunately, the field stacked up at the drop of the green and Miller received significant front end damage. The race was red-flagged to clean up the raceway and was resumed with a five-lap dash for cash.
With Miller's car badly wounded, it was survival of the fittest andhe managed to hang on for a still very respectable and season-best seventh-place finish.
"I guess the second place car missed a shift and we all stacked up," said Miller. "We were pretty happy with where we were at with that many laps left and we just got turned around on the restart. That really hurt us. We had a bunch of body damage and we had to come down pit road. I think we restarted 10th and got back to seventh, so I can't complain."
Miller earned $2,600 in prize money for the effort and had him also praising the effort of his Pete Knight Racing team and new crew chief Shane Huffman.
"To have Shane Huffman, Wes Ward and Mark McFarland helping you almost insures you can't run badly," Miller stated. "Pete Knight has given me the best of everything and it shows out on the race track. We're definitely capable of winning a race. We're pretty excited to be looking forward to the next race at Motor Mile. I think we'll have a pretty good shot there."
Miller and his No. 81n Pete Knight Racing Chevy will next take the green flag in USAR Hooters Pro Cup action on Saturday, July 12, at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA. The 250-lap event will shove off at 7:30 p.m.