Jeremy Miller capped off his 2018 season and his career with a storybook ending and a fifth Big 8 Series title. The Rockton, Illinois driver made his retirement announcement halfway through the season and ended the year spraying champagne with friends at family at LaCrosse Speedway (WI) as he celebrated a storied career and a final Big 8 Series championship.
“It definitely meant the most since I knew it was my last year racing,” Miller told Speed51.com. “As a driver you always want to go out on top and if that hadn’t happened, I would have been disappointed.”
Miller ended his final season with one Big 8 win, four top-five finishes and finishing second in points in the Late Model division at Madison International Speedway with three wins. He will also leave his name in the Big 8 Series record books for most starts, wins, championships, top-five finishes and fast time awards.
“It started off great with the win at the opening race at Hawkeye Downs,” Miller said of his season. “We won that one by a straightaway and put my dad’s old number in Victory Lane. But after that it was a struggle. We got wrecked at a few races and ran pretty well at some of the others but couldn’t get back to Victory Lane again in the Big 8 Series.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t win the MIS championship. But with the luck we had with engine failure, I guess second place isn’t too bad. In the Big 8 Series, we were up and down with our finishes, but I love that series. I like the competition and traveling to the different tracks.”
The decision to hang it up after 20 years of racing wasn’t too difficult and family played a huge role in Miller’s decision. With three kids who are now getting older and have their own activities, Miller wants to be there for them and their activities. The amount of time spent away, not just racing, but preparing in the shop was hindering that.
“It’s their turn now,” Miller stated. “It was all my decision; they are actually pretty upset about me retiring. I put Logan in a go kart part-time this last year and he wants to run full-time next year. Macie’s asking for a go kart too, so who knows what will happen with that. Max plays travel baseball and I want to be there for his games this summer. My wife has been doing all the running with them and making it to all my races, so it’s time I start helping her out.”
While the Illinois driver is “officially” retired, you will see him behind the wheel for one final time at Speedweeks in February. It’s been a bucket list race for Miller and this was the year to make it happen.
“Yes, my driving days are done after Speedweeks,” Miller said. “Never say never, but the traveling and weekly racing is done for me. Since I’ve started racing, I’ve always wanted to go to New Smyrna for Speedweeks, so we decided it’s now or never. I talked to my car owner, Joe Hunter, and he said, ‘What the hell! Let’s go.’ That’s why I believe I drive for the best car owner in the Midwest.”
-Story by: Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo credit: Big 8 Series