Miller Racing Daytona review
Miller Racing Finishes 18th in Season-Opening GRAND-AM Continental Tire Challenge Race at DaytonaLate-race collision costs Dempsey Racing-supported Ford Mustang team a top-five finishMiller Racing emerged from the first event of its full-season campaign in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge last Friday, January 27, with mixed emotions after posting an 18th-place finish in the team's No. 158 Miller Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302R. The race will be telecast tomorrow, Saturday, February 4, at 12:00 p.m. EST/9 a.m. PST, on SPEED.Team owner Roger Miller qualified the No. 158 Mustang, which is sponsored by the Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Miller Motorsports Park and the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School, and prepared by Dempsey Racing, in the 27th spot in a field of 81 cars, comprised of 41 Grand Sports (GS) class entries and 40 Street Tuner (ST) division entries.Miller drove the opening stint in the two-hour race in a light rain, smartly moving up through the field to sixth place before pitting on Lap 14 of the 58-lap race and handing the car over to co-driver Ian James. With the rain having subsided, James worked his way up through the field to fourth place on Lap 36 before being hit in the rear bumper in an on-track incident, which sent the car to the pits for repairs and deep into the field.Following repairs, James soldiered back up through the field to finish 18th. It wasn’t the result the team wanted, but there were positives to be gained from the experience.“All things considered, I am fairly pleased with our result,” Miller said. "We showed fairly well until late in the race when Ian was 'bumped' from behind. I felt like I did pretty well in the first stint, most of which was in a light rain. Ian did a fantastic job of getting back up through the field to finish 18th. Now I’m even more excited about this season!”“The first race was a roller coaster of fortune,” said James after the race. “Roger did an excellent first stint in tricky conditions and kept us in the mix. We got as high as fourth and then dropped to the back with an unscheduled pit stop, but we learned some lessons and we will for sure come back faster and stronger for Round 2!”Miller also enjoyed a special treat the following day. Prior to the start of the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona, he drove the Ford GT40 Mk II (chassis no. P-1015) that won the very first 24-hour race at Daytona in 1966 (previous races were shorter distances). The car, which is housed in the Larry H. Miller Total Performance Museum at Miller Motorsports Park, was invited to participate in the “24 Minutes of Daytona” historic tribute featuring previous race winners from the legendary event.“That was quite a moment, getting to drive such an historic car on the high banks at Daytona, and I got to have my mother ride along, which made it that much more special,” Miller said. “The event was organized by Tim Pendergast, and he did an amazing job pulling together 29 of the 50 previous race-winning cars, and 21 of the race-winning drivers. It was an honor to participate, and we very much appreciate being invited to take part.”Miller Racing now returns to its base at Miller Motorsports Park to prepare for Round 2 of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, which will take place at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Ala., on March 30. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions will be available at GRAND-AM.com.