Miller Racing Struggles at Home, Mechanical issues thwart results
May. 4, 2012 - Tooele, UT - Miller Racing, based in Salt Lake City, had a tough time of it at its home race, the Utah Grand Prix, at Miller Motorsports Park this past weekend.
Dan McKeever drove the No. 23 Miller Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S, with sponsorship from the Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Miller Motorsports Park, the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School, Zions Bank, Coca-Cola and EnergySolutions, in the Pir
In the GTS class of the SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge Championship, Dan McKeever was filling in for team principal Roger Miller, who had an unavoidable schedule conflict. McKeever is the Director of Track Operations and oversees the Miller Training Center at Miller Motorsports Park, and probably has more laps on the track in a Mustang than anyone else in the world. In addition, he was the 2010 National Champion in the Spec Miata class of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA).
Miller Racing also had a second entry on the weekend, a Ford Fiesta competing in the national debut of the World Challenge B-Spec class, driven by Roger Miller's son, Braden, in his first professional race start.
McKeever got off to a great start in the team's No. 23 Miller Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S, with sponsorship from the Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Miller Motorsports Park, the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School, Zions Bank, Coca-Cola and EnergySolutions. He qualified ninth of 19 GTS entries and took the grid in 24th position overall in the 34-car field. He managed a good standing start and began to work his way through the field, moving up to 20thoverall at the end of six laps around MMP's 3.048-mile Outer Course. However, the engine started to lose power and McKeever fell back in the field, finally pitting on Lap 11 of the 23-lap event with engine problems.
"I'm very disappointed that we didn't do better," McKeever said. "The car was great initially; very strong in qualifying and the early laps of the race, and I had a blast driving it. I think we were on pace for a very respectable finish. However, when we lost power there was no point in continuing and possibly doing further damage. I appreciate Roger giving me the opportunity to drive his car in the team's home race, and I wish we could have had a better result for the team and our sponsors. I'm looking forward to see how the team does in the upcoming races."
The World Challenge B-Spec class had three races on the weekend schedule, all on the 2.18-mile West Course at MMP. The brand-new car was still being finished on Friday and Braden Miller was unable to participate in qualifying. Despite that, he started the first of Saturday's two races in the back of the pack and was able to work his way up to sixth in class out of eight B-Spec entries in the 24-car field that included the Touring Car class. In Race 2 he managed to go one better, finishing fifth in class. In Sunday's third race, McKeever stood in for Miller and mixed it up in the top five in the early laps, but a problem with the shifter necessitated a quick stop for repairs and relegated McKeever to the back of the pack.
"Since I started racing in 2009, it has always been a dream of mine to be a professional race car driver," said Braden Miller. "Over the weekend I had my first taste, and I am confident that it was a great stepping-stone in what I hope will be a long and successful racing career. I have to thank Justin Cusimano and all the crew at the MMP Race Shop who prepared the car, and Cindi Lux and the staff at the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School who prepared the driver! I was very thankful for the opportunity to participate in the races over the weekend, and I look forward to more in the future."
"It was unfortunate that a couple of small problems hampered what could have been some very good race results," said Roger Miller. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there, but our cars were in good hands. I appreciate Dan's efforts, and I'm very proud of Braden in his first professional race. We'll learn our lessons, repair our cars and look forward to the upcoming races."
The race from Miller Motorsports Park is scheduled be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, May 27, on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). Live and post-event on-demand video streaming of the races is also available at www.World-ChallengeTV.com. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available on each individual event page at www.World-Challenge.com.
Miller Racing will not attend the SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge Championship's next outing at California's Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 10, but will rejoin the series for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on June 1, with Roger Miller resuming the driving duties.
For more information on Miller Racing, visit the team's website at www.MillerRacing.com. Fans are invited to follow the team at Facebook: www.facebook.com/roger.miller158 or on Twitter: @millerracingUT.