Jason Miller, event promoter and co-owner of Miller Brothers Productions, has been one part of the driving force behind the World Cup Finals: Import vs Domestic. The event now hosts racers and fans for five days and is marking its 26th annual debut November 2-6 at Maryland International Raceway.
Miller chatted with Drag Illustrated before the thrilling World Cup Finals.
What makes the World Cup Finals so different from any other race?
Every year has been bigger than the previous year in terms of attendance, sponsor support and media support. We target all the cool classes of cars from different sanctioning bodies and series, import and domestic, and write rules that accommodate those cars and their trims as they come from the other series. There’s no index, no bracket – it’s only heads-up racing on a quarter-mile. There’s a cult following behind many of these different cars, combos, and classes at the race.
What can fans expect if it’s a fan’s first time at the event?
The race is the backbone of the event. For fans to come out and see an event with so many different cars run in a quarter-mile is something that they don’t get to see at any other event in the country. The one thing about the fans is they’re intoxicating. The crowd is a very vocal crowd. People talk about the roar they hear when they see a crash or someone comes from behind. There’s a 2,300-foot vendor midway. We have a very inclusive midway that covers everything, no matter your genre. There will be a DJ and a bikini contest put on by the International Bikini Team.
Tell us about the drivers and the “big names” the World Cup Finals draw.
The deal with World Cup is all the different genres targets different fan bases out there. The thing with this race is there isn’t one big name, there are 340 big names, and each one of them represents a different genre. For a fan, they can come here and see what they’re interested in. I can literally read the Roll Call list of all the big names.
The World Cups Finals have been held for over a quarter of a century, and with that, we’re sure you’ve encountered obstacles. Tell us about the unique challenges you’ve had to face. The event was a one-day event for ten years. It wasn’t until we started bringing the national teams out that the event quickly grew into a two-day event. The cars were targeting grew eventually into a three, four and then a five-day event. The fan counts grew so fast that we had to start increasing our staffing and other logistics to accommodate the growth each year. But then you would grow so much quicker than the following years beyond what you did with last year’s attendance. So we had to start taking multiple steps to accommodate the growth of the event. Now we’re selling out the event before we open the gates. We sold tickets to 22 different countries this year. We have 13 countries competing in the event. We’ve been reaching capacity limits for the last four to five years, and we know what to staff for. I would say that the later-2000s were very tough in accommodating the growth.
How do you prepare to host such a versatile roster of racers?
We send out Racer Survival Letters that have all their questions answered. Every time we get a new good question, we add it to our survival letter. We have a link for it at importvsdomestic.com/survival. From different protocols to when tickets can be redeemed, to where the nitrous stations are, how the parking is handled, and all the different scenarios of the event, everybody knows when they show up because they read through the Racer Survival Letter. They know what to expect and how it’s done, which makes the event very organized.
Share the pride you have in being so far along in this project.
There are a lot of really good promoters out there. But I feel that our calling card is making sure all the details are handled, and we listen to our racers. We get a lot of feedback from our racers. We’re constantly improving the event. Everybody comes, whether they’re a racer or a fan, to have a great experience. They want to come back next year and bring somebody with them, and that’s how we’re growing with this race. That’s how we got to where we’re at right now. We’re very fortunate.
What prize do you have for the drivers this year?
There are $180,000 in payouts. We’ve got cash at the event and a billet cup trophy that weighs 40 lbs. We’ve got people that win in their class, and they come to tears when we hand them the trophy.
How can fans get tickets to the 26th annual World Cup Finals?
The only thing we have left for anybody who wants to experience the World Cup Finals is General Admission tickets. They might sell out earlier this year, so anybody who wants to experience this event can get online now and buy your tickets. The last thing we want is to have somebody get on the road and get there but have to turn around because we’re sold out, and they have to go home. If you go to importvsdomestic.com, they can purchase tickets right on the site and walk through our easy pass system at the gates, find a seat and have a great time.