HOUSTON, Tex. (October 6, 2000) - Johnson City, Tennessee's Johnny Miller and his crew saw an exciting BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race at the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston last weekend. Unfortunately, they watched the better part...
HOUSTON, Tex. (October 6, 2000) - Johnson City, Tennessee's Johnny Miller and his crew saw an exciting BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series race at the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston last weekend. Unfortunately, they watched the better part of it from the sidelines as the #64 Automationdirect.com / UPS / HITACHI / Cutler-Hammer Corvette blew up the engine only 17 laps into the 60-lap event.
The unexpected detonation left Miller a disappointed spectator after having picked up four spots in the early going of the race; two at the start and two on an early re-start. That had Miller running sixth in short order, after starting tenth on a track nearly impossible to pass on.
"We didn't get enough track time to really figure out what the car was doing," said Miller of practice, where he broke a dog ring in the transmission - the first time in his 11 years of racing that has happened - after only four laps. That caused the team to have to guess on qualifying setup, leaving them 10th on the grid to start Saturday's race. "The car was just starting to come in," said Miller of the race. "We had made the right choices for car set up for the race, and as we burned off the gas, the car was starting to turn better and really coming in nicely. I was definitely being held up in the early laps, and managed to get by a couple of slower cars on the restart. This is really a difficult deal to take, since we were just getting primed to do well. But that's racing. We'll just regroup here, pull ourselves together and see what the rest of the year brings."
Miller, the 1996 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year and 1998 Most Improved Driver, falls to 11th place overall in season points with his 27th-place finish at Houston, but is only three points out of ninth. He also retains third place in the Owners Championship, which rewards professionalism and promotional efforts as well as on-track performance. With three races left, there is still a lot of ground that can be made up. Miller has been the only other driver capable of running with points leaders Paul Gentilozzi and Brian Simo, and has qualified on the pole twice this season - as many times as anyone but Gentilozzi and Simo has managed in the past three seasons.
Next up is the GlobalCenter Sports Car Championships Presented by Honda at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, on Sunday, October 15. The telecast of the Houston race will be on the Speedvision Network on Friday, October 13, starting at 8:00 pm EDT.