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Race track brings Rootstown’s Miller family together

Race track brings Rootstown’s Miller family together


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


The joy of racing has reached its third generation for Rootstown’s Miller family.

The Miller family stands behind Liam’s racecar. From left to right are Chris Miller, Ava Miller, Liam Miller, Kathy Miller and Tim Miller.
Special to Portage Sports

And it has never been more fun than it is right now.

Tim Miller began the fascination 40 years ago.

His son Chris Miller followed in his footsteps.

Now, his grandchildren Liam and Ava Miller have joined the legacy.

All four continue to race and are currently in the peak of their season at Quaker City Motorsports Park in Salem as part of races sanctioned by the International Hot Rod Association.

Essentially, it is the family’s unofficial home for racing, though they ocassionally travel to other locations as well, racing under the Miller Motorsports name.

While Tim and Chris still have a fire inside to compete, a lot of focus has shifted to Chris’ children, Liam (12 years old) and Ava (15), who compete in handicap races on a one-eighth mile track.

Both compete in the 790 class, with the name reflecting the fastest cars in their class are allowed to go — 7.90 seconds in one-eighth mile.

That equates to approximately 82 miles per hour, which is the maximum speed for the 12 to 15 age division. By 16, the speed increases to a 750 class, or 7.50 seconds in one-eighth mile, which is the class that remains for anyone older than 16 as well.

“It is always a lot of fun,” Chris Miller said. “I have been around it since I was a kid, then I started racing my truck when I was 16 years old around 1995 or 1996. My career stopped for a little while as I started my adult life, but then Liam started asking about it and wanted to get into it and that started us back up again.”

That was in 2018 and Ava started racing in 2020 after watching her youger brother compete for two years.

The wins have come for both Liam and Ava, and at times, racing against each other.

A photo collage of Tim, Chris and Liam Miller during last season’s team finals.
Special to Portage Sports

And like any competitor, even young in age, the wins and the path it takes to get there are certainly satisfying, but Chris Miller has witnessed firsthand that the racing community has more to provide than just that.

“There is nothing that can compare to the adrenaline rush when you are racing, but at the end of the day, this is all about the great people that you meet and the relationships that it builds,” Miller said. “It is what draws me back year after year. I see people at races that are in their 60’s now and they talk to me and say, ‘I remember when you were Liam’s age.’ So it has truly come full circle for us. It really is special.”

Just as it is special for Tim Miller to now watch his grandchildren find enjoyment in the same competitive outlet that he has been so passionate about across four decades.

“You can see it in his eyes and you can tell in the pictures that he is happy and proud of his grandkids,” said Chris Miller, who knows the feeling since he has long felt the same way about his father.

“When I was young, I remember watching my dad, and he was my hero,” he said. “He was the awesome racecar driver. If something happened to his car, he would take it into the garage, wrench on it and fix it. He did it all.”

Now they are doing it all together.

Three generations of racers that still get excited when they are sitting at the starting line. Their left foot pressing hard on the brake, staring at the Christmas tree taunting them before releasing the break and slamming their right foot down on the gas pedal all the way to the finish line.

And it has never been more fun than it is right now.

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