MILLER DIVING BACK INTO USAR HOOTERS PRO CUP RANKS AT SOUTH BOSTON THIS WEEKEND Driver Returns To Series In No. 81N Knight's Companies Chevy After Year Out Of Sport Mooresville, NC (April 14, 2008) - Like most people, Travis Miller was more...
MILLER DIVING BACK INTO USAR HOOTERS PRO CUP RANKS AT SOUTH BOSTON THIS WEEKEND
Driver Returns To Series In No. 81N Knight's Companies Chevy After Year Out Of Sport
Mooresville, NC (April 14, 2008) - Like most people, Travis Miller was more than happy to give up his day job for a seat in a USAR Hooters Pro Cup stock car. That's especially true if you had a job like Miller's.
"I worked for my dad's company doing underwater bridge repair, underwater concrete repair," said Miller, who will wheel the No. 81N Knight's Racing Chevrolet in Saturday's USAR Miller Lite 250 at South Boston (VA) Speedway. "It was a fun job in the beginning. Sometimes, you are under the water 10-15 feet, sometimes up to 60 feet. I was making a lot more money than being a racecar driver. I thought I was going to have more time out to race, but we were so busy that I was working seven days a week. I was third shift, basically six in the evening until seven in the morning. I also did another day job for my dad, so it didn't leave much time for racing"
Miller -- who turned 20 this past Sunday -- was all about racing until lack of funding forced him to sit out the 2007 racing season. A Chesapeake, VA stock car prodigy at age 15 and racing competitively against the likes of Denny Hamlin, Timothy Peters and current Pete Knight Racing teammate Mark McFarland at speedways throughout Virginia and North Carolina, Miller was on the fast track to success before the bottom fell out.
"We just couldn't afford to keep going," said Miller of his family-run USAR Pro Cup race team. "We had a lot of engine and mechanical problems. We just ran out of money. My dad probably spent more than he should have on my racing career and we were just at a place where we had done all we could."
While his on the track efforts might have been under water in 2007, Miller did stay on solid ground with his friends in the sport. Included in that group was McFarland, who campaigned for Miller with team owner Pete Knight and crew chief Wes Ward when PKR decided to field a USAR Northern Division entry this season.
"Mark had tried to help me get some other rides and they just didn't work out," said Miller. "Then he talked to Pete and Wes for me and we were able to get a deal worked out. I can't thank Mark enough. He's always been a good friend, definitely somebody that I can trust. He's just a good all around guy."
Miller, who last raced in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series at Motor Mile Speedway on July 15, 2006, has tested several times in preparation for the 2008 season. According to the young driver, it didn't take long to get used to being behind the wheel of a stock car again.
"We tested at Lakeland, but honestly we were really there to just run laps and support Mark and the team's season-opening race there as much as we could," said Miller. "It only took me about 15 laps to get comfortable in the car after being off for a year. When we tested at South Boston last week, I felt real comfortable. I'm sure part of it was that I had raced there so many times in the past, but I really didn't feel rusty at all. The car was so good that it was an easy transition. We got some good notes out of that test and I think we'll be pretty strong when we go back there to race."
While it's hard to predict what kind of finish Miller might score Saturday at South Boston, don't be surprised if he is near the front at the finish.
"I've got a ton of experience at South Boston," Miller stated. "We'll use our heads and race smart. We won't take any chances and hopefully late in the race be able to race for a Top-5 finish. We definitely think we have a Top-5 car. All we have to do is keep our heads straight."
And what about his chances for success throughout the rest of the 2008 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Northern Division and Championship seasons?
"Pete definitely has a top-notch race team," complimented Miller. "PKR is a totally professional operation. The cars are great. There's definitely pressure to do well. Pete expects to win. We all want to win. I definitely have to be focused. I've been to a lot of races as a driver and thought I could win races, but I've never had an opportunity with a team that is as good as this one is - one I know that can win races.