DI 30 UNDER 30 2017: Ray Miller III
Spring City, Tennessee’s Ray Miller III has managed to turn a childhood spent in his father’s chassis shop into a fruitful career as not only a skilled fabricator, but an equally talented driver who can wheel his own creations to victory on the biggest stages in big-money bracket racing and NHRA class racing. This year, Miller used that ability to secure his second NHRA Division 2 championship, winning two divisional races along the way.
“It’s been a decent year,” Miller, 27, says humbly. “Had a real good year in Super Gas and a so-so year in the Super Comp car. I’ve had a few real good years, but I’d say this was one of the better ones, with the division championship and finishing third in the world.”
Also scoring his third NHRA Southern Nationals Wally in May, Miller drove a ’68 Camaro Super Gas roadster and a Super Comp dragster, both cars he built alongside his father at their Miller Race Cars shop. Miller, whose main duties at the shop include running the CNC machine and handling the assembly and wiring on every car that rolls out the shop door, says he gets as much enjoyment out of seeing his customers win as he does when he reaches the winner’s circle. Further adding to the rewarding feeling Miller gets is the fact that he picked up everything he knows from his father.
“I learned all of it from Dad,” asserts Miller, who won the Million Dollar Drag Race in 2012. “I didn’t go to a tech school or anything like that. When I was just a little kid I used to hang out with Dad at the shop. I learned how to use the equipment and when I was 13 or 14, I started working with him in the shop more, learned how to weld. From there, I guess you could say things took off. I just gradually learned how to do all the different aspects of building a race car.”
Clearly appreciative of his father’s influence, Miller thanked his parents, as well as his sponsors, Miller Race Cars, Mickey Thompson Tires, Strange Engineering, PAR Racing Engines, Stinnett Racing, Penske Shocks, and Abruzzi Transmissions and Converters.
This story originally appeared in DI #127, the third annual 30 Under 30 Issue, in December of 2017.