RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. (Dec. 18, 2004) - Emerson Slade Miller is the latest promising young American race car driver to earn one of the prestigious Team USA Scholarships, and will carry the patriotic red-white-and-blue colors proudly as he contests a portion of the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship – including the renowned New Zealand Grand Prix – in January 2005.
The Team USA Scholarship was founded in 1990. Jimmy Vasser was the first Scholarship recipient, and went on to win the 1996 Champ Car World Series title for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. Bryan Herta, Jerry Nadeau, Memo Gidley, this year’s Indianapolis 500 Champion Buddy Rice and Champ Car’s 2004 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger are among an illustrious list of more recent Team USA Scholarship award winners.
Miller, 18, from Edmond, Oklahoma, comes from a well-respected racing family. His mother, Susan Ramseyer, won the SCCA Mid-Am Sports 2000 Championship when she was pregnant with Slade in 1985. Slade’s father, Wendell Miller, has won seven SCCA Divisional Championships and has owned and operated his Quantum Mechanics racing services and preparation shop for over 30 years. Older sister Aislinn also has tried her hand behind the wheel, although now concentrates her efforts on a career in motorsports marketing.
"This is a great chance to further my career in racing and represent the USA in New Zealand," says Miller. "I think that this will be an important step on the way to becoming a professional racecar driver. It’s very exciting being selected to have this opportunity, and be a part of a program that has helped so many talented drivers over the years."
The younger Miller – who is named after racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi – began racing karts at age 13. He progressed to become a factory driver for the KartWerks Biesse team before moving into cars with a Formula Ford Van Diemen midway through the 2003 season. Success came almost immediately as he was crowned Mid-Am Champion and was named Rookie of the Year in the Mid West Division. This year Miller has won four SCCA National events and secured the Formula Ford Mid West Division Championship.
Miller, who prepares his own race car at his dad’s shop, also attends the University of Oklahoma as a freshman engineering student.
"Slade has earned this opportunity to represent his country and has all the hallmarks of a champion," says Team USA Scholarship founder and veteran auto racing writer and broadcaster Jeremy Shaw. "He works hard, is absolutely dedicated to making a career out of racing, and is a true enthusiast too. He has some big shoes to fill, but I am confident he will rise to the challenge."
Miller will travel to New Zealand after Christmas to prepare himself for two weekends of racing – each of which will comprise three races – at Levels Raceway, Timaru, on January 8/9, and then the famed New Zealand Grand Prix meet (which was first contested in 1950) at Teretonga Park, Invercargill, the world’s most southerly race track, on January 15/16. He will drive the same Stealth/Van Diemen with which 2003 Team USA Scholarship winner Charlie Kimball won the Talley’s New Zealand International Formula Ford Challenge this past January.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=214