Friday, February 18, 2011

Six Quick Questions With Chris Miller

With the refocusing on the ladder series and the Mazda Road to Indy, I've been diving more and more into the various ladder series, from USF2000 to Star Mazda to Indy Lights. There are a number of interesting storylines to be had, and plenty of interesting drivers as well. I also think there's a certain joy in learning more about a series and group of drivers.

That brings us to today's installment of Six Quick Questions. Chris Miller is a Minnesota native who will be running his second season in Star Mazda for JDC Motorsports. His rookie season in Star Mazda saw five Top-10 finishes He'll be running part-time, because aside from racing, Miller is also pursuing an education. Oh, and did we mention he was the 2009 F2000 Championship Series champion? Here's the results of Chris' question-and-answer session:

Chris, as a driver involved in the Mazda Road to Indy through the ladder series, what are your opinions on the recent changes to the Road to Indy?

CM: I think the changes are only positive. Having a definitive path to Indy Car is simpler for everyone. As a driver you know that you want to be part of the Mazda Road to Indy and having Mazda step up and financially support the champions of each series makes the climb to Indy Car a lot more feasible.

You won the 2009 F2000 Championship. How well do you feel the F2000 platform does in preparing drivers for the next level?

CM: The F2000 platform is fantastic. The cars are real race cars and the tuning and setup that you learn on an F2000 car can truly be taken to the next level. The F2000 cars are also a lot of fun to drive and make for very competitive racing.

After running a full season with JDC Motorsport in 2010, you've decided to run part-time in 2010 to help focus on your schooling. What are you going to school for, and how do you see auto racing figuring into your future?

CM: I am hoping to go to law school this coming fall. Although it was a difficult decision to shift my focus a bit away from racing I am confident I will still be very involved in the sport. Auto racing has been such a large part of my life for so long that I don't ever see myself fully distancing myself from it. I will do my best to continue to pursue a career in racing and look for opportunities to continue to build my auto racing resume.

After your 2010 season, how would you gauge the process you've made as a driver?

CM: 2010 was a difficult season. To go from winning a championship the previous year to struggling like we did was discouraging at times but I think I took a lot of positive things away from it. I continue to develop as a driver and the experiences that I had, both positive and negative, I know have made me better.
Miller: A Future Racer and Lawyer?

Who's the toughest competition you've faced so far in Star Mazda? Who do you see really breaking through at the next levels of open wheel racing?

CM: There are so many great driver in Star Mazda every year and I think at times people don't realize how ultra competitive it is. Obviously Conor Daly had a very special season last year and was really the class of the field. I also think my teammate from last year, Connor DePhillipi, is very talented and is someone I could very well see running in the Indy 500 a couple years from now.

Finish this sentence. If I could change one thing about North American Open Wheel racing...

CM: I would increase the exposure and fan base. I think Indy Car is heading in a positive direction and Randy Bernard seems to be the right guy to revitalize the series but there is still a long ways to go.

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