(Dylan Duvall Photography)
Tulsa, OK | December 23, 2017 – When Joe B. Miller takes to the track on Thursday morning for his first practice session of the week, it will have been 361 days since he pulled off arguably one of the greatest runs in Tulsa Shootout history with his incredible 24th-to-1st triumph of the Winged Outlaw class. After that drive, one that rocked the micro sprint world and officially solidified Miller’s legacy with his first Golden Driller, the Millersville, Missouri native is prepared to return and collect some more hardware. Slated for quadruple duty, Miller will compete in the Winged Outlaw, Outlaw Non-Wing, Stock Non-Wing and A-Class divisions at next week’s 33rd annual Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout.
In seven appearances at the Tulsa Shootout, Miller has recorded 12 feature starts since his debut in 2010. Ranking fourth in feature starts this decade, he only trails a trio of micro sprint legends in Chris Andrews, Jonathan Beason and Frank Flud. Throughout those 12 starts, Miller has scored four top-five results and six top-ten finishes to go along with a solid count of 10 heat race victories.
While anyone with remote knowledge of the Tulsa Shootout is aware of Miller’s remarkable victory at last year’s event, most are unfamiliar with his first fight for a Shootout title back in 2012. Qualifying for the Outlaw Non-Wing main event at the 27th annual event, Miller rolled off in the fifth spot and partly due to a chaotic opening half, the Missouri native was pacing the field by lap 13. Leading a total of eight laps, Miller’s Golden Driller dreams were shattered as the flagman waved the five to go signal and Washington’s Brock Lemley stormed around him for the top spot. As Lemley walked away with the late-race win, Miller suffered a disheartening third-place result.
Encountering his next chance at a Shootout title in 2015, Miller started from the outside pole of the A-Class main event in his Hyper Racing machine. However, before he even had a realistic chance at the victory, track conditions put him at an immediate disadvantage. Falling into line on the start, Miller trailed Gio Scelzi for all 25 laps, but was unable to make a move and finished with a tough second-place score. Returning in 2016, the former POWRi Micro champion turned up the notch on his consistency by reeling in two top-ten finishes with a fourth in Outlaw and eighth in Stock Non-Wing.
At last year’s 32nd running, everyone is aware of his astounding 24th-to-1st bid in the Winged Outlaw class. Climbing into the top five with roughly 20 or so laps left, Miller made his way past the likes of Frank Flud, Christopher Bell, Tyler Courtney, Nathan Benson and Jake Hagopian in the late running as he reached Gary Taylor’s bumper on the final restart. With the crowd on their feet anticipating an epic final few laps, Miller provided just that as he stormed around Taylor and led the 54th and 55th laps to score his first-career Golden Driller in the most amazing way. Not only did he pull off that incredible Outlaw run, but earlier in the night, Miller scored an impressive 20th-to-8th finish in the A-Class division. Walking away with a Golden Driller and two of the Donnie Ray Crawford Legacy Foundation Hard Charger awards, the 2017 running was far and away Miller’s best year at the Shootout.
Following that performance at last year’s Tulsa Shootout, Miller carried his momentum into the 2017 season. Earning his second-career POWRi Micro championship, Miller found room to contend at the biggest micro races of the year while dipping his feet more into the midget and sprint car world. Chasing his first High Banks Hustle triumph after he nearly had the race locked up in 2016 before wing troubles, Miller continued his hard-charging ways as he picked up a thrilling 19th-to-3rd run in the 2017 running. Returning to Southern Illinois Raceway for the Terry Sprague Memorial in July, Miller defended his 2016 title with a strong second-place bid, only falling short to respected non-wing ace, Chris Andrews.
Chasing his second-career Golden Driller this week, Miller has entered for quadruple duty once more. The Millersville, Missouri native will be racing in the Winged Outlaw, Outlaw Non-Wing, Stock Non-Wing and A-Class divisions.
Beginning on Thursday, December 28th with practice and heat races, the 33rd edition of the Lucas Oil Tulsa Shootout will run through Sunday, December 31st when a new batch of Golden Driller winners are crowned. Walkapedia will continue our Tulsa Shootout coverage all week long with countless previews leading up to the race as we highlight this year’s contenders.