Column By: LAURIE FALLIS / RPW – SCHOHARIE, NY – With the excitement all summer long for the return of the Fonda 200, the big day finally arrived after some 17 years without. However, with all the hype on the Modified race last Saturday, something else had been missing.
Better yet, should I say someone else had been missing, from Fonda Speedway for almost 29 years to be exact. That was, until last weekend, and that someone was driver Jack Miller
Miller, who hails from Schoharie, NY, had made his way back to the “Track of Champions”…a place where he started his racing career back in 1968. Many of Fonda’s faithful might remember Jack in his Late Model days. He first started his racing career back then but later moved up to the Sportsman ranks.
As I was strolling threw the pits, I had to double take to see if it was really Miller himself in the #37 Sportsman car. To my amazement, it was the veteran, now at the ripe old age of 69. He had made his way back home after leaving Fonda in 1990, only returning once since then.
“I would have to say Fonda is still my favorite track,” Miller said. “I started here. I won a championship here back in 1973 with the Late Model. Man, I sure did have a lot of fun here.”
Exactly, why did he leave Fonda?
“It was a multitude of reasons,” he said. “Being that I was getting older, I had made a trip out to Utica-Rome and saw the place. The track was wide and had no walls. I figured, at my age, it would be safer, and there I stayed.”
Jack had success at the Vernon, NY oval as well, capturing the 1998 Sportsman title. One could say that 2019 is the Golden Year for Miller as this marked his 50th year in racing. What brought him back to Fonda after all these years?
“Well, I brought this TD1 Troyer,” he said. “I haven’t turned a wheel with it yet so I’m looking to shake it down, but I’m at three disadvantages. I’m Old…I’m running on Hoosiers (which were allowed in the Sportsman compared to the track’s American Racers) and I’ve never driven this car before.”
Miller ran his qualifier on Saturday, but didn’t transfer through it. That ended up putting him on the pole for the consi. The veteran went on and proved that he still knew his way around the “Track Of Champions,” taking the checkered flag and punched his ticket to the feature.
Starting deep in the field, Miller only completed seven laps, however, as he felt the right rear Hoosier didn’t hold up as well as the American Racers would have. However, with that being what he had, Miller felt he knew it would happen.
Even with that, Miller was pleased with his cars performance . He liked the way it handled and accomplished his goal…bringing it home in one piece. VICTORY!
It was certainly great seeing the driver in the #37 make a trip back home!