WOW! Marc Miller drove this Challenger across the finish line at Circuit of The Americas and into the record books as the 2019 Trans Am TA2 Champion!
It was extremely exciting to interview Marc and his responses are a look inside the mind of a Professional Race Driver. He is a True Champion and not just on the track either! His motivation comes from all aspects of his life and his winning attitude is awe inspiring.
The PREFIX #40 Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger marks the 40 year anniversary for a company deeply involved with Trans Am Racing. The PREFIX 392 Hemi Engine enhances the power curve and dominates the competition. The graphics package and rear wing combine to make this the most recognizable Dodge Challenger on the track. PREFIX also built a street legal version making it the most recognizable Challenger on the street too! Watching the Stevens-Miller Team take this Challenger to the Top was a great ride from the spectator seats. Don’t take my word for it though. Listen to what Marc has to say!
COTD: You have motivated a lot of fans, like myself, through 2019 with your enthusiasm and success as well as your reaction to bumps in the road.
Marc Miller: THANK YOU!!
COTD: How does it feel when you are in position waiting for the race to start and what goes through your mind?
Marc Miller: The heart is always racing before sessions, regardless of which car I am racing or session. I get the nerves before practice sessions even and think that is pretty normal. Once I am in the car though I have my rituals I have had since I was young and racing karts with my Dad. I tend to get very relaxed and have fallen asleep on the grid. Typically I race with a very low heart-rate, which I believe helps me a ton conserve energy and make less mistakes.
COTD: How does it feel when you cross the finish line?
Marc Miller: Finishing a race, especially a hard fought one, there is definitely a sense of relief and if the result is as you'd hoped, the relief is definitely followed with a great deal of excitement. Most of the time there are things that didn't go smoothly. It is rare to have a race go perfectly even when you start from pole and lead every lap, so relief is always the first feeling. It isn't usually until I am traveling back to my home that reflection of the weekend sets in.
COTD: What drives you when you are not on the racing course and how does your personal life affect your professional goals?
Marc Miller: I think my personal life compliments my professional goals very well. I was raised to believe nothing comes easy and you work for the things you want. Every day I am not doing something positive for my family AND career, I feel imbalanced. I have missed racing opportunities due to family commitments and vice-versa, but it has all been to maintain a healthy balance that I can look back on in 30 years and be happy or proud of. Mostly, I want to be able to have my family be proud of the accomplishments knowing that I didn't sacrifice our relationships to do so. So to win races and titles while maintaining that balance gives me the greatest feelings.
COTD: What helps you keep a positive focus?
Marc Miller: I think I am a naturally positive person. I can be cynical and question things for the sake of learning, but overall I stay rather positive. I think it is important in a team environment to lead by example. Setting good goals, examples and keeping a positive attitude typically keeps a team more upbeat and in this sport, you accomplish nothing great without a great team relationship.
COTD: What is one of your favorite things about the Dodge Challenger
Marc Miller: It is iconic! Out of the big three, Dodge goes their own way. The Hemi 392 is big, heavy and makes gobs of torque. It has a completely different sound and while the brand has stuck with the squared off body-lines that it has had since the 1960's. Most of all, I love to see Dodge and MOPAR fans at the track delighted to see a dodge winning on road courses.
COTD: How do you maintain a Positive Focus when things go wrong and do you have any advice for others?
Marc Miller: Things are going to go wrong. It is part of what makes all the good things that happen so good. I always remember that concept; "Fall down 7 times, stand up 8." It isn't what goes wrong really, it is how you react to things when they do go wrong. You can either stay down, or get back up and find a solution. My advice to others? Get up! The view sucks from the floor.
COTD: What does the 2020 Season have in store for you and Stevens-Miller Racing and will we see more of the PREFIX #40 Challenger?
Marc Miller: Great question! Joe Stevens, owner of SMR, and I have been talking a lot and while we haven't made any announcements we have been working on some things.
COTD: I noticed there was a PREFIX #40 Challenger Tribute car for sale recently. Did you have any thoughts about purchasing it?
Marc Miller: I have driven that car. It runs great and is a much better grocery getter than our TA2 car. I admit though I didn't have any plans to purchase it though. It definitely needs to go to someone that would have the time on their hands to take it to track days or car shows and share it with people!
COTD: Do you think your endurance racing experience gives you an edge against other drivers who don't go to the same lengths?
Marc Miller: I am not sure. A GT3 car is vastly different than a TA2 car, even though they are similar weight and horsepower. You drive the GT3 so much more aggressively.
COTD: Please tell me a little about Stevens-Miller Racing and PREFIX - perhaps something not often shared.
Marc Miller: Stevens-Miller Racing is owned by Joe Stevens, but started out as Miller Racing. Many people don't know this but Joe started as a customer, but his drive and personality suited him well when it came to developing the team's Arrive & Drive program. It isn't uncommon for the team to run 5 or 6 cars on a weekend. Also a fun fact, the Miller in the name has nothing to do with me at all, but is maintained out of respect for the team's founder, Mike Miller.
PREFIX has built a strong name in Motorsport over the last few years. They have been heavily involved with Dodge and the Viper programs and had been the Viper engine rebuild center for Viper's worldwide. While we worked mainly with PREFIX's "Performance Division", what many people do NOT know is PREFIX has their hands in so much more. They have a huge paint and finishing department that can hand craft bodywork from the mold stage, create composite panels, hand prepare and hand paint and finish each part. They have an interior division that can create custom interiors and interior and exterior lighting (plastics). They have a well known engineering department that designs driveline components and can literally create a prototype vehicle in-house from the ground up! On top of that, they also do development in the marine, aerospace and entertainment industry. Pretty impressive!
Pretty impressive indeed! Clearly an amazing team effort and we can't wait to see what 2020 has in store. When you have a real passion for what you do it shows through and your energy becomes self-replicating. They say you go where you focus and a positive attitude can make all the difference. Marc shares his knowledge as a coach for other drivers and also as a champion for autism awareness. His efforts helped found RaceNOWforAUTISM.org which promotes racers of all disciplines willing to race in support of Autism Awareness.
Please follow Marc Miller on social media:
Stevens-Miller Racing: stevensmillerracing.com/
PREFIX Performance: prefix.com/performance/