Story By: DAVE MEDLER / FULTON SPEEDWAY – FULTON, NY – The father and son race team of Eric Miller and his son AJ Miller make the long tow to the Fulton Speedway every Saturday night from their Fultonville, NY home to compete in the DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman division.
In 2019 the team will increase by one as Cortland, NY racer Dale Planck will be behind the wheel weekly at Fulton in a DIRTcar 358 Modified.
Planck is not new to the Miller race team. Planck, his son Brandon who is the owner of DIG Race Products has worked weekly with the race team with DIG shocks and set-ups for AJ Miller who has been racing Sportsman since 2016
“It has been a long time since I have done this weekly. I hope I didn’t forget how to do this,” Planck said with humor about getting back into the weekly racing battles.” With 61 wins and four track championships alone at the Fulton Speedway, it’s highly doubtful that Planck forgot how to get around the ‘Highbanks.’
Planck said that he can’t thank Eric Miller enough for the opportunity to get back in a car and to be able to mentor a young racer eager to learn like AJ Miller is.
Being back in a car weekly can only help further develop DIG Race Products when Planck can feel exactly what the car is doing on race nights for different track conditions.
During the off-season Eric Miller purchased a hauler to be able to bring both cars to the track and as of this writing is having a new DIRT legal 358 built by LJL Kevlar Racing engines to go between the rails of Planck’s Bicknell chassis.
Eric related having Dale and Brandon a phone call away, at the race shop and at the race track has been invaluable for shock packages and setups in AJ’s learning curve.
“I can watch AJ on the track and tell him what I see, but I’m not a driver,” Eric said, “Having Dale there to watch AJ on the track has been huge.”
Dale Planck will strap into the Pioneer Windows MFG, DIG Race Products, NHKelman Inc. Scrap Recycling, Bill Lake Modular Homes, Bicknell, in his familiar No.77x.
AJ Miller, a freshman in college has been racing since he was 5 years old. He won many championships in Karts and moved up to the 600 Modifieds in 2014. In 2016 they bought a Sportsman to run with the 600 Modified before going Sportsman only in 2017.
In 2019 AJ will be behind the wheel of the Pioneer Window MFG. Corp., DIG Race Products, NHKelman Inc. Scarp Recycling, Bill Lake Modular Homes, Bicknell, No. 14AJ DIRTcar Sportsman. He will also have a limited amount of starts in the 358 DIRTcar Modified at Utica-Rome Speedway to get ready for the next step in his career.
With many tracks to go to AJ talked about the reason they make the two-hour drive to the Fulton Speedway.
“I love Fulton because the track is challenging and not just hammer down. The drivers there are some of the best in the Sportsman division and that helps you become a better driver.” AJ also added he really likes that everyone gets to run a feature and nobody is sent home. “Most of all it reminds me of my Karting days and the family atmosphere.”
The conversation turned to what Dale and Brandon Planck have meant to his racing.
“Dale has made a huge difference in my driving with his consulting because he can sit back and watch as a driver who has spent many years at the track and tell me what I’m doing wrong. He also tells me what I’m doing right and to keep doing it.”
“He also tells me all the time that a setup that works for somebody else most likely will never work for me,” AJ said that Dale always talks about finding one that works for AJ’s driving style.
He said one thing he likes about Dale and has been a huge help beyond driving is he always has a story.
“Whether there is something that happened on the track that has upset me or I didn’t qualify for a race or we broke, working on the cars or even a good night there is always a story from his career that you will hear.”
“I’ve been angry on the track and after the race, within five minutes of talking to Dale he has me laughing and I forget all about it.”
Eric and AJ Miller both said the Planck’s bring a lot to the table with experience but it has also been great having their family as friends and working alongside them. The Planck’s said the same making it a win for everyone involved in the family sport of racing.
Now that the calendar has turned to February, fans and race teams turn their attention to the Brewerton & Fulton Speedways Winter Blast at RFH’s Hideaway on Saturday, February 16 at 7:00 pm. RFH’s is located just minutes south of the Fulton Speedway on Route 57. Point Money and trophies will be handed out, a buffet dinner will be available to those who want to purchase one. The final night of the DIRTcar Nationals will be on the big screen. Dress for the event is casual and free to attend. Racers, race teams and fans are all invited for a night of fun, catching up with friends you haven’t seen since the end of the 2018 season.
On March 9-10 the Brewerton and Fulton Speedways will have a presence at the 33rd Annual Syracuse Motorsports Expo & Trade Show located in the Center of Progress building at the New York State Fairgrounds. On display will be some of the new cars that will do battle at Brewerton Speedway’s ‘D-Shaped Dirt Demon’ and on the ‘Highbanks’ of the Fulton Speedway. Track staff will be there all weekend to answer any of your questions plus you will be able to purchase 2019 licenses and season passes.
Finally, the long off-season will be over when the Fulton Speedway roars back to life for the ‘Highbank Holdup’ weekend on Friday & Saturday, April 26-27.
Racing on Friday night will be the winged warriors of the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints, DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series, Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux RUSH Late Models and hot laps for the Modified Super DIRTcar Series.
Saturday the stars and cars of the Modified Super DIRTcar Series will do battle in the ‘Highbank Holdup’ 100 plus track points will start for the DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman & Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux RUSH Late Models.