Asks, 'Where Are They Now?'; Play it Again Joey...... Asks, 'Where Are They Now?'; Play it Again Joey......
TOLEDO OH (11-9-09) - When Lakeville, Minnesota's Joey Miller first landed on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour back in 2004, it didn't take long for the rookie racer to put a whooping on the competition.

In fact, in his first series start at Nashville Superspeedway, Miller, in the days before the Aaron's Lucky Dog get-your-lap-back-deal, came from two laps down the old-fashioned way to win the 200-mile race. Needless to say, the young Minnesotan turned a lot of heads that day.

After making only one other start that '04 season, Miller came on fulltime in 2005 with big results. Miller, who drove his father's Country Joe Homes Dodge, won four more races, won a season-high six pole awards and led 1,002 laps overall. His year-long impressive performance earned him the Rookie of the Year title and a second place finishing position in championship points behind champ Frank Kimmel.

Miller, in such a short period of time, had accomplished so much and appeared destined for greatness. And in 2006, he found himself behind the wheel of Darrell Waltrip's NASCAR Camping World Truck. Then, the bottom came out.

"I just didn't play my cards right," said Miller. "There were times when I didn't act the way I should have. And there were times when I needed to put my foot down. We were funding the program, and we had crew issues, among other things. I wasn't happy in the situation, and I didn't take the right steps to fix that. Shot myself in the foot."

Miller lasted about a half-season with the Waltrip Truck team, then pulled the plug.

"When I quit, I stayed down in North Carolina for about a month before I came home, and I haven't been back since. That first summer that I wasn't part of it (racing), I'm not gunna lie; it was tough. I had to take the pictures off the wall; it really bugged me. It still bugs me but it gets easier and easier the more I'm away from it."

Outside of running some local late model stuff, Miller's been away from big-league racing since mid-summer 2006. Miller spends his time these days managing his father's construction company - Country Joe Homes, the same company that funded his racing exploits.

"I'm happier now than I've ever been. I'm back home in the family business, basically running it.

"I'm very fortunate. When I first came back, I started my own home building company. By the end of the year, I had built and sold eight homes. The last six months or so, I've been managing my dad's company, and we're doing really good - on pace to build about 40 to 50 homes a year. Most home builders are down 30, 40, 50 percent. But we've been able to maintain the level we were building at three years ago.

"We have a good reputation, a good name, and that's key. Many are choosing us over the competition because of our reputation. It's not just a house from a builder, but a builder you develop a relationship with.

"I had a framer come to me a while back who was out of work, getting ready to foreclose on his house. I gave him a job; he was able to keep his house, and now he's doing well. I feel really good knowing that I'm able to do that even though I gave up some things I love to do."millercarshot05.jpg

Miller acknowledges that giving up racing was, and still is, tough; and that he would certainly not rule out the opportunity to return to the sport he still loves.

"If somebody came to me and asked me to drive, I'd definitely do it. I've got a good handle on things here at home. I could easily fly back and forth.

"But racing is a dream occupation that comes true for only a very small percentage of people. Now that I'm out of it, I've been able to put things more into perspective and realize what's important in your life.

"I've still got the urge. I still want to be the best at it, win championships. But right now, it's more like a distant dream. I'm still getting my fix running the late model, and I just built on Frank Kimmel street stock type car to run locally, so racing is still very much a part of my life. I go to Kevin Cywinski's (ARCA car owner) shop all the time. He rents a building from us, so he's literally right here where I live. My shop's right next door, so I'm over there quite a bit."

JOEY MILLER BIO: Finished runner-up in ARCA RE/MAX Series points in first full season 2005. 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie of the Year. In 26 career RE/MAX Series starts since 2004, has 5 wins at Berlin Raceway '05, Gateway Int'l Raceway '05, Nashville Superspeedway '04 & '05 and Salem Speedway '05. Won from 2 laps down in his debut at Nashville. Also finished 2nd at Lanier Nat'l Speedway '05, 2nd at Nashville '05, 2nd at Milwaukee Mile '05, 3rd twice at Kentucky Speedway '05, 3rd at Pocono Raceway '05, 3rd at Chicagoland Speedway '05 and 5th at Kansas Speedway '05. Has led 1,013 laps in 16 races. Pole Award champion '05 with 6 career poles at Kansas, Berlin, Pocono, Lake Erie Speedway, Nashville and Chicagoland. Veteran of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports '06. Also veteran of ASA, NASCAR-sanctioned late model divisions, sportsman divisions and quarter midgets. In 22 career ASA starts, has 6 top-10 finishes from 2002-2004. 2 Bud Poles in NASCAR sanctioned late models at Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway and at Phoenix Int'l Raceway ‘03. Late model division Rookie of the Year with 2 feature wins at Elko Speedway MN ‘01. Also Sportsman division Rookie of the Year at Elko ‘00. At age 15, finished 3rd in points in World Asphalt Stock Car Racing Sportsman division. Also won Rookie of the Year at age 12 in Minnesota Quarter Midget Racing Association.