NASCAR Finalist Division II dirt track racer Jason Miller is dealing in multiple racing ventures this season. Two tracks, two cars with two owners, two different tiers of NASCAR competition, and a successful chassis business keep the all-around racer humming. He’s also a full-time mechanic for a growing trucking company. His pleasant demeanor hides a full load of responsibilities that he handles with an “all in a day’s work” attitude.
After flirting inside the top 20 of NASCAR Division II points, Miller, 35, of Osceola, Wis., could be a midseason “sleeper” in his track and Finalist points races as makeups for multiple weather-delayed events are on the horizon.
The new NASCAR Finalist national recognition program focuses on the divisions outside of the Feature Division at each NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track. Points are kept separately for dirt and asphalt tracks. A NASCAR-licensed driver’s best 14 finishes are counted toward their final points total for the year.
Each track in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series designates its top division as its Feature Division, and assigns its remaining divisions a designation of II, III, IV or V. The Finalist Program was established this season to recognize the drivers in those latter divisions.
Miller is in a tight track points race with Ron Schreiner in the NASCAR Division II Amsoil Modified Division standings at Cedar Lake Speedway, a .375-mile banked clay oval in New Richmond, Wis. He jumped to 19th in NASCAR Division II points standings this week, with two wins, six top fives and six top 10s in six starts.
Dirt-track NASCAR Finalist Division leaders entering this weekend include Division II Jesse Sobbing, I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, Neb.; Division III, Brad Derry, I-80 Speedway; Division IV, Joe Baker, I-80 Speedway; and Division V, Andy Wilkinson, Junction Motor Speedway, McCool Junction, Neb.
NASCAR asphalt division leaders include Division II Derek Stoltz, Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Division III, Matt Galko, Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, Conn.; Division IV, Tim Hollen, Raceway Park, Shakopee, Minn.; and Division V, Doug Schmitz, Raceway Park.
At Cedar Lake each Saturday, Miller drives for owners Ray and Lynn Olson. The car is crewed by the Olsons and the driver’s father, Roy Miller. The car is sponsored by the Olson’s Barole Trucking Company, Whiplash Graphics, Engler Masonry, Aero Wheels, Rock Star Energy Drink, and the driver-built Matrix Chassis.
Miller also competes at Kopellah Speedway, a .250-mile flat dirt track in St. Croix Falls, Wisc., each Friday in the Midwest Modified Division – the track’s Feature Division. There he is in a close race for the track points lead with Mike Mueller and Dan Wheeler. Miller’s Kopellah car is owned by Mike Gibson and crewed by Gibson, Roy Miller and Jayson Shykes. The car is sponsored by Dairy Queen, Action Battery and Matrix Chassis.
“I’m lucky to have all these opportunities to race cars owned by friends at two NASCAR tracks every week,” Miller said. “Not many guys have the chance to race at both tracks in two different divisions. The chassis are the same but the engines and transmissions are different. The tracks are challenging and very different.
Cedar Lake is a fast banked track and Kopellah is a flat and traction is at a premium. Either way, the competition is stiff. We draw for heat race starting position and redraw for the features.
“I’ve raced all over, up to 106 races one year, and the NASCAR sanction here makes a difference to drivers. The people who run the tracks seem to work with their drivers better,” Miller said. “I think we’ll get enough races in to be contenders at the end of the season.”
Miller has been driving race cars for two decades, originally on Minnesota dirt tracks. He started driving at about the same time his dad stopped.
“I went to races with dad as long ago as I can remember,” Miller said. “I helped him until I turned 16 and I started racing and he helped me.”
He built race car chassis branded with the RPM name while still in Minnesota. Later he built Super Stock chassis branded RPM Motorsports and then settled into the Matrix name building dirt Modifieds. He figures he has built about 125 cars in all. Today, he produces about five new Modifieds a year, which allows him time to work on past and present customer cars.
As a mechanic for Barole Trucking Company, he also maintains trucks that carry cargo ship containers.
The NASCAR Finalist points structure is the same as the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series featured division at each track. The feature winner receives two points for every car in the feature up to 20. Second place receives two fewer points and that distribution continues through the field. Race winners receive five additional bonus points. For example, if there were 20 cars in the feature, the winner would receive 45 points, second gets 38 and third 36. If there are 15 cars the winner receives 35 points, second gets 28 and third 26.
At season’s end, the top driver in each of the four asphalt and four dirt NASCAR divisions will receive invitations to the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series awards banquet December 10 in the Crown Ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. where they will be recognized.