Johnny Miller is quickly making a name for himself as a skilled tuner in the world of drag racing. He’s only 21 years old but has the knowledge of a seasoned veteran.
Miller is the son of one of the best tuners in drag racing and now an NHRA Pro Mod Champion Crew Chief, Jamie Miller. Johnny is following closely in his father’s footsteps, which has been easy to do since he has a deep-rooted passion for racing.
“I’ve been around cars my entire life. My dad has been around it for as long as I can remember,” Miller explained. “I would miss school to go to the race track. That was kind of my mom and dad’s reward to me. If you do good, you can go away this weekend to the track. From that moment on, I was addicted to it.”
As Miller spent more time at the track, he closely watched what his dad was doing, learning the ins and outs of what makes a car tick. Now Miller has quite an impressive client roster of his own. “I full-time maintin Ken Quartuccio’s Pro Mod. When I’m not doing that, I ran NHRA with Kris Thorne. I’ll run the radial series with Manny Buginga, and I do a little bit of nitrous racing with Michael Naumann and his son Jake,” explained Miller.
As a matter of fact, Miller’s first big win came this year as Kris Thorne secured the NHRA Pro Mod Championship at the Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex. “I couldn’t even believe it. I’m still in shock – we all talk about it. We’re like, can you still believe that we won that?”
Miller’s first race with Thorne was in Charlotte at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, where Thorne finished first. “My dad couldn’t be there, and they needed somebody to run the laptop. My dad said, ‘my kid can do it,’ so I went there,” he explained. “I never really talked to Kris or any of his crew a whole lot and just walked in as a 21-year-old kid, and I’m like, I’m here to run the laptop this weekend.”
Miller corresponded with his dad via phone on track conditions, giving him his input. They would collectively decide on a tune-up for Thorne’s 2017 Pro Mod Procharger Hemi Chevy Camaro. “I never would’ve thought the first weekend out we would’ve won,” said Miller.
In addition to winning, another perk of the job is getting to work alongside his dad. “Some people are like, is that hard? You must get sick of each other,” Miller said.
“We never do, and we’re constantly together – it’s awesome. I always knew from 3rd grade when I get out of school, I want to go race with dad,” said Miller. “I graduated high school, and the next morning I was on a flight to go race with dad.”
Miller has his 2023 season planned out and is ready to hit the track running and build upon what he accomplished this past year. “I’m going to be running PDRA with Ken [Quartuccio] and NHRA with the Thorne’s again,” he said as Miller mapped out his schedule. “It’s going to be a busy year.”