Star Mazda veteran and Team USA Scholarship alum Joel Miller will be racing in the Firestone Indy Lights race this weekend at Infineon Raceway for Bryan Herta Autosport, and blog abut his experiences each day here at RACER.com. -Ed.
To start things off, I would like to say thank you to Bryan Herta for giving me the opportunity to compete in the Firestone Indy Lights race at Infineon Raceway this weekend. This will be my second start in the series. Two weeks ago, I didn't have a ride for Sonoma despite having worked hard to raise the budget. Then I got the call from Bryan. "Wow," was all I could say!
Watching the race season from the sidelines this year has been tough. When I am not at school – I attend University of California, Riverside – or working as a sales representative for Sparco USA, all of my time is focused on two things: looking for sponsorship and staying fit for racing. I was fortunate enough to gather the funding to run the Long Beach Indy Lights race with Andersen Racing and couldn't wait for another opportunity. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to make your dreams come true.
A few months back I began working with Brook Johnston at Monarchy Media Management on this idea of a family day in which we would bring racing to the fans. This spawned many different ideas and, before we knew it, the Joel Miller Indy Experience was being formed. The event took place this past Sunday in Santa Cruz, and it brought together a mixture of many different sports genres to raise money for two charities and support my racing.
We had supercross riders, NFL players, skateboarders and, of course, open-wheel racers with me. Also, Lamborghini was present with a few different models of their supercars lining the way down the red carpet. It was really cool and brought the feeling of Hollywood meets racing. Then there was a poker tournament which was fantastic to watch.
It was a short-lived game for me, but I thought I had a pretty decent hand with three of a kind. Unfortunately, a full house beats three of a kind (note taken for the next time). In the end the “Wings for Life” and “Karting 2 Live” charities were very happy with the poker tournament proceeds. Many people said they had a great time, so who knows, maybe we can get this event to be an annual gathering? More news on that in the future especially since our Internet media site received a total of 60,000 hits in less than two months!
Now it is time to focus on the race weekend ahead. I have to say a huge thank you to Doug Mockett & Company, Lamborghini Travels, Blanco Basura Clothing, Valli Construction and Paradise Landscape for their support this weekend. The financial part of racing is a heavy burden to carry so getting that off my back for this race weekend is huge and will let me concentrate on the task at hand.
With the help of everybody at BHA I fully believe I will have a good car under me. The last time I drove at Infineon, I was in a Star Mazda car and that test went very well. Sonoma is a good driver's track and very flowing so a real joy when everything comes together. On the fitness side, I always train as if I have a race coming up, but this time I have been pushing extra hard with the help of my friends over at PitFit. Double days whenever possible, swimming, rowing, and running have all been a part of my workout plan. I will be ready to give this weekend everything I have!
There have been other people who have helped for this race weekend, so I would like to say thank you to all of you as well. The ultimate goal, besides winning, of course, is to prepare for next year and build as many relationships as possible. As I said, watching the race season from the sidelines has been tough so I am extremely excited about this weekend. With a good showing, I hope for an opportunity for a full-time drive next season. Make sure to stay tuned over the weekend for my next post on how practice and qualifying turned out.
And last, but not least, thanks to RACER for letting me tell my story.