Few cars in radial racing are as recognizable as Jeff Miller’s “Bumblebee” Camaro. And it’s his son, 23-year-old Patrick Miller, who keeps the ‘Bee flying. Growing up in Florida, the two started out working on airplanes together. But when Patrick was 14, after moving to South Carolina, they got back into the drag racing scene.
“Me and him just kinda make a good team. We do everything we can at the track together,” Miller says. “I wouldn’t mind doing a little driving, but my focus is more on the tuning.”
Patrick is more than just the tuner, however. He can do just about anything on the car – from rebuilding the engine to performing the paint and body work.
“Dad showed me some, and I just kind of figured out the rest on my own,” Miller says. “I went to school for auto body, competed in Skills USA for automotive refinishing, won state, placed fourth in nationals.”
The father-and-son team campaigned the original 2014 Camaro for a few years, becoming the first car to run in the 3.80s on a 275 tire. But in 2019, in an attempt to get down to Radial vs. the World weight, they unleashed a brand-new Bumblebee, a car many fans will be familiar with.
“We had a friend, and Stevie [Jackson] told him he had a car that we needed,” Miller says. “We ended up buying the car he wrecked in Charlotte at 4-Wide. It’s actually the same rear shell that was on the car when he wrecked. I did all the body work and fixed it.”
The new car has already put the radial world on notice, becoming the first screw-blown radial car to dip into the 3.50s (albeit in testing), winning over 10 different events and claiming the 2019 Carolina N/T points championship in the Extreme 315 class.
“It means a lot,” Miller says. “We didn’t really run this year planning on the championship; it was more for test sessions. We did pretty good, so we decided to stick with the group.”
Despite almost immediate success, Miller has his eyes set on even bigger things.
“As of right now, the goal is to be the first radial car in the 40s. We’re not worried about weight, I’m going for the door car record. Frankie [Taylor] set it back in 2014, and no one’s broke it yet. I know I got a car that can do it, I just need the parts to stay together.”
This story originally appeared in DI #151, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in December of 2019.