MILLER SETTLES FOR 14TH IN RAIN ABBREVIATED SOUTH BOSTON HOOTERS PRO CUP CLASH Mooresville, NC (April 21, 2008) -- After not racing since the middle of the 2006 season, you couldn't fault Travis Miller if he was a little nervous at the start of...
MILLER SETTLES FOR 14TH IN RAIN ABBREVIATED SOUTH BOSTON HOOTERS PRO CUP CLASH
Mooresville, NC (April 21, 2008) -- After not racing since the middle of the 2006 season, you couldn't fault Travis Miller if he was a little nervous at the start of the USAR Hooters Pro Cup of the Northern Division season-opening Miller Lite 250 at South Boston (VA) Speedway Saturday.
"It was great to be back in a racecar again," stated Miller after finishing 14th in the event. "Honestly, I didn't really think too much about how long I had been out until we were about to take the green flag. It had been a year and a half since I had raced and for a second, I was a little nervous. Then we got out there, ran a couple caution laps and took the green flag. As soon as that happened, I wasn't nervous anymore. I was ready to go."
Earlier in the day, Miller wheeled his No. 81N Pete Knight Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the 19th starting position with a lap of 15.828 seconds on the tight four-tenths of a mile oval in qualifying.
"We didn't qualify that well," said Miller, who last raced at Motor Mile Speedway in a USAR event in July, 2006. "We were pretty loose, but we knew that would be good for the race. At the green flag, we were just riding around picking up positions when we could. We weren't in a big hurry."
Miller gained several positions at the drop of the green flag before coming to pit road for fresh tires when the first caution flag waved. After the stop, Miller again set sail for the front of the field before pitting a second time, this one for fuel.
Getting to the front of the pack proved to be problematic, however, as continual cautions slowed the event. An even bigger slowdown came shortly afterward as showers hit the southern Virginia oval red-flagging the race for over three hours. Finally, the race went back to green flag conditions shortly after 11 p.m. with Miller now trying to fight his way into the Top 10.
Unfortunately, the wet weather was here to stay as rain began falling again and the race was red-flagged for good at Lap 161 of the scheduled 250 circuits leaving Miller with a 14th-place effort.
"We picked up quite a few spots on pit road during our fuel stops," said Miller. "That was really good. The team did a great job all weekend. We were in a good position for the end of the race when it started to rain. There were six or seven guys in front of us that still had to pit for fuel, so we were in really good position to move up. Our whole plan was to ride around until they pitted and then race for it at the end. If it doesn't rain, we would have definitely finished in the Top-10. Unfortunately, we got stuck with a 14th-place finish instead."
Despite not getting the desired finish for his Pete Knight Racing team, Miller was still pleased with his return to the driver's seat.
"I learned a lot this weekend," said Miller, a 20-year-old Chesapeake, VA native. "I learned a lot about our team and a lot about who you could race. I let Bobby Gill go by and followed him through quite a bit of traffic. I learned a lot about how to get around people following him. It was a good first step even though we didn't get the finish we wanted. We still accomplished some other things we wanted to do which was to learn a lot and put the car back on the trailer with all four fenders and tires on it."
Miller will get his next shot behind the wheel of the No. 81N Knight's Companies Chevrolet when the USAR Northern and Southern division stars head to the famed 'Milwaukee Mile' in West Allis, WI on Saturday, May 31. The 150-mile event is scheduled to be part of a full day of racing that will include Pole Day qualifying for the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights divisions at America's oldest racing facility.