MILLER MASTERS RECIPE FOR SOUTHERN MOD SUCCESS By Matthew Dillner
King Holds Off King For Yet Another Caraway Win
Recipes are often handed down from generation to generation. They are something to be coveted as they contain the exact pathway to a desirable end result. If the measurements are off by just a tick, or an ingredient is missing, it can spoil the entire recipe.
Being successful in racing is sometimes like cooking. After years of mastering the ingredients, Modified Legend Junior Miller and his seasoned Riggs Racing Team seem to have their recipe perfected.
On Friday night, Miller cooked up his third win of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season at Caraway Speedway (NC). The team looks to be on target to claim their second straight Tour Championship.
“This team here has all the ingredients,” said Miller. “They know how to set the shocks and set the tires. These boys have a good combination. Last year we weren't running with enough bite and we were kind of loose all year. This year we've got it tightened up and have a real good racecar. It takes the whole team to make it work. It has to be a good combination, that is for sure.”
The King in his office. (51 Photo)
Miller started on the outside pole of the 150-lap event and took the lead from the start. Just like he did earlier in the year at Caraway, Miller used that lead to set his own pace. The wily veteran took it easy on his tires out front and used that cushion to his advantage. It is an example of why many on the Tour have tabbed Junior as the master of saving his tires.
“This place has always been about conserving tires. Before they paved it I won just about every race they had here for about two years. You just have to save tires here for the end. It's just something I learned a long time ago and I learned it right here. We saved them tonight and had the dominant car at the end.”
The only driver able to get close to Miller all night was Brian King. King had a breakout performance at Caraway, charging from a 12th place starting spot to contend for the win. But King knew he was no match for the “King of the Southern Modifieds.”
“I knew Junior was saving his tires and waiting for the end
Brian King's #17 was fast at Caraway.
FULL FIELD RESULTS
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150
1. Junior Miller
2. Brian King
3. Chuck Hossfeld
4. Frank Fleming
5. Burt Myers
6. Bobby Hutchens
7. Brian Loftin
8. Tim Brown
9. Gene Pack
10. Jason Myers
11. Jay Foley
12. Earl Baker
13. Joe Lucas
14. Josh Nichols
15. Robert Jeffreys
16. Johnny Sutton
17. Brian Pack
18. Jay Hedgecock
19. Jay Mize
20. Brandon Hire
21. Michael Clifton
to run,” said King. “He's smart and he knows how to do this, and we are learning.”
Miller had the car to beat but kept an eye on King and others throughout the race.
“I was looking in the rear view mirror probably more than I was looking at the racetrack. I got a four car length lead and that is all I needed. I learned a long time ago that the last lap is the one that pays so I just run exactly what I had to.
“He never really bobbled. Not one time. Other guys I would follow like Bobby would bobble a little bit and I could see there weakness. He (Junior) really didn't have a weakness. I knew if I showed too much I was going to lose spots and give up second.”
Do Junior Miller and the Riggs Racing Team have a weakness? Right now it looks like the answer to that question is no. The combination of a seasoned veteran with a family owned team and years of knowledge has them on top of the Southern Modified world.
“It makes six wins for me if you count Bowman Gray (Miller has won three races this season at Bowman Gray Stadium running a car out of Puddin’ Swisher’s stables). Last year we picked the pace up about mid-year and won some races. The year before that we didn't even win one and was wondering what was going on? This year we started out the dominant car and still are. Those boys (Riggs Racing) have a super good racecar. I put it on auto-pilot and drove it right to the end.”
Junior may be cooking up some more wins in the Southern Mod ranks, but can the King actually cook?
“I cook real good spaghetti,” laughed Miller. “There are a couple of things I can cook like pinto-beans. I can eat it but I don't know how good it is. I can drive a racecar better than I can cook.
“I never really showed what we had because I knew he wasn't showing what he had,” said King. “I didn't want to show him too much. I had watched him all night and was watching his line and where he was running.
“A couple of cars came up and tried to make a run on me,” said Junior. “I just took off and I guess they saw that I was just riding and backed off to save their cars. Bobby Hutchens came after me one time and then the 17-car made a run on me and I took off. He'd (Brian King) like to win a race but I wanted to win it too so I had to pick up the pace and go on. He's hungry and has won a lot of races down at Ace. Apparently He’s been up here (Caraway Speedway) and getting his racecar right because he ran real good tonight.”
King had more car than he showed on Friday night. He used his head and didn’t make a charge, tucking in behind the flawless Miller for a second place finish.
Junior Miller's #69 has been nearly untouchable at Caraway this season.
(TOP) Junior has been winning so much he had to think before he raised up three-fingers after the win. (BOTTOM) Members of the Riggs Racing Team celebrate their third win of the year with Junior Miller.
Miller may not be a culinary master, but he knows all the ingredients it takes to create checkered flags and championship feasts. It’s a special recipe that others would love to have passed down to them.