Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tara Bowker photos

Exclusive

DI 30 Under 30 2023: Johnny Miller

When Johnny Miller’s dad, Jamie, traveled to races across the U.S. and beyond to tune for customers in a wide variety of doorslammer classes, young Johnny had to stay at home, studiously watching the live feeds to spot his dad in his trademark red ball cap. Johnny eventually started tagging along with Jamie, gradually increasing his schedule as he got older. 

“During high school, I was constantly out of school to go to races,” Miller says. “I would go to school when I was sick because I knew once racing season started, I would leave Thursdays and go to PDRA or whatever there was and go racing. Now, him and Mom both say, ‘We probably should not have let you do that,’ but I’m like, ‘Look, I knew where I was going.’ The first time I went to the track, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is what I want to do.’”

From his early days hanging out in his father’s chassis shop in Connecticut to his first outings at the track, Miller was exposed to high-level drag racing at an impressionable age. He picked up a lot from his dad, but others in the Pro Line Racing circle also took notice of Johnny’s interest in the mechanical side of the sport. 

“When [Tim Davis] was racing with DeWayne Mills back in the Radial vs. the World days, that’s when I really started going around a bunch and I was really interested in the motor side of it,” Miller says. “Tim took a bunch of time to teach me and pull me aside and show me things to pick up on. Tim’s always been that teacher to me. Tim’s my phone-a-friend if I’m at the track and have a question.”

Over the course of the last few seasons, Johnny has become his father’s right-hand man in the pits and at the shop. Together, they won the 2022 NHRA Pro Mod world championship with Kris Thorne, as well as numerous big races with Ken Quartuccio. Johnny works closely with Quartuccio, maintaining his ProCharged ’69 Camaro Pro Mod and serving as the car chief. 

Quartuccio was the PDRA Pro Boost points leader earlier this season when he suffered a high-speed crash at the PDRA Northern Nationals in Michigan. The car severely damaged, but the Millers had it back on track just over a month later at the next PDRA race in Darlington, South Carolina. 

“Honestly, the big accomplishment recently was getting that car fixed in the 35 days we had,” Miller says. “That was a mad thrash. It came down to the last hour.”

The father-son duo attended more than 20 events together this season, crisscrossing the country to work with customers at NHRA Pro Mod and PDRA races, as well as major radial races. It’s made up for lost time, as the elder Miller spent a lot of time on the road when Johnny was growing up.  

“That sucked because all my buddies’ dads were around and my dad had to work, but now I would take that any day because now I’m closer to my dad than all my friends are,” Miller says. “They’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t stand my dad,’ and I’m out here traveling with mine every week and we never get like that. Plus, you have somebody from home with you when you’re gone. We were gone for 28 days straight at the beginning of the year. At least being together, that made it all better. I wouldn’t trade anything for it.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Under the tutelage of industry veterans, Miller is learning as much as he can about what makes high-horsepower Pro Mods and drag radial cars tick. It’s all a part of his mission to one day become a tuner himself, but the 22-year-old realizes he still has a lot to learn. 

“I just don’t want to start [tuning] until I feel like I’ve accomplished and know every bit of a race car, inside and out,” Miller says. “My dad always says you can’t fix a car with just a laptop sometimes. You need to know every aspect of the car side before you can get to the tuning side.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You May Also Like

News

The star-studded STREET OUTLAWS: No Prep Kings series is set to return for its 6th season in the summer of 2023. Fans can expect to...

News

Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star and renowned engine builder Pat Musi joined the recent episode of The Wes Buck Show and provided an update...

News

Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Lizzy Musi announced today that she has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer via her Youtube channel....

News

Tony Christian, one of the pioneering drivers of the Pro Street movement, passed away Thursday, June 9. Christian was infamous for his battles with...

Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.