Born in Southport, IN, October 1949, Miller first visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1957 and attended his first 500 in ’59. There his creativeness was captured by the overwhelming magnitude of the occasion, and specifically the heroics of Jim Hurtubise.
9 years later, having dropped out of Ball State, he had joined the crew of the NY-born fast-but-unlucky racer as a gopher, however was fired for damaging the superbly painted emblem of a outstanding sponsor whereas he was pushing the automobile.
A month later, he joined The Indianapolis Star and shortly discovered his method to the sports activities division masking American Basketball Affiliation’s Indiana Pacers. That sport was his lifelong second-favorite and the ebook he co-wrote concerning the Pacers’ early years and rise to prominence, We modified the sport, is a wonderful learn.
Nevertheless it was his motorsport protection for which Miller grew to become legendary. As a U.S. open-wheel racing professional he grew to become the go-to man for not solely The Star but additionally Autoweek, Automotive and Driver, Sports activities Illustrated, Autosport, Racer and Motor Sport journal. He would go on to stretch his viewers nonetheless additional as a TV persona with ESPN, SPEED and NBC.
IMS’s assertion immediately included the truth that Miller’s perspective was significantly valued as a result of he grew to become a racer himself within the early 1970s, after buying a Formulation Ford from Andy Granatelli.
“Two years later, Miller bought a midget from Gary Bettenhausen to begin a 10-year run as a USAC competitor. With assist from racing buddies Larry Rice, Johnny Parsons and the Bettenhausen brothers, Miller developed right into a driver fast sufficient to qualify fifth for the 1980 Hut Hundred midget race on the Terre Haute Motion Observe, a prestigious filth occasion that includes 33 automobiles lined up in 11 rows of three. Nonetheless, a blown engine compelled him out of the race.
Robin Miller and Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Picture by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images
“Miller admittedly didn’t have a mechanical bone in his physique and lengthy loved telling tales of his racing naivety. Resembling, he purchased a trailer too slender for his racecar – it needed to be loaded in at an angle – and he survived a crash right into a phone pole within the Indiana State Fairgrounds car parking zone when he began the automobile with out buckling up. The throttle caught, launching the highly effective machine unexpectedly and dangerously ahead.
“In an much more severe state of affairs, Miller suffered a head damage in sizzling laps at a 1975 midget race in Hinsdale, Illinois, when he flipped the automobile right into a concrete wall, tearing the cage off his automobile.”
Nevertheless it was as a storyteller – in print, broadcast or in particular person – that Miller grew to become most well-known, and he grew to become pals with among the largest names within the sport together with Tom Sneva, Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Bobby and Al Unser, Tony Bettenhausen, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan. Nonetheless, he was additionally very near crew homeowners, engineers and mechanics.
In 2019, as Miller coated his 50th “500” amid declining well being, Indianapolis Motor Speedway introduced the creation of the Robin Miller Award, to be given yearly to an “unheralded particular person who has introduced unbridled ardour and an unrelenting work ethic to complement the game.” Final month, he was inducted into the Motorsport Corridor of Fame.
In an announcement immediately, Roger Penske mentioned: “Racing has misplaced one in every of its most well-respected journalists and most beloved personalities. Robin Miller achieved his dream as his lifelong ardour for motorsports led him on a path to changing into the premier reporter in open-wheel racing.
“For greater than 50 years, Robin coated the game he beloved with a fierce drive, a fantastic sense of humour and uncompromising honesty. I do know that Robin was really touched by the help he obtained throughout the motorsports neighborhood over these previous couple of months as he battled his sickness.
Fernando Alonso, Andretti Autosport Honda, Robin Miller
Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images
“As lots of Robin’s pals honoured him and his legacy earlier this month when he was inducted into the Motorsports Corridor of Fame throughout Brickyard weekend on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was a becoming tribute to his life’s work on the place that meant the world to him.”
Mark Miles, president and CEO, Penske Leisure Corp. added: “My friendship with Robin and appreciation for his expertise and work started throughout his days at The Indianapolis Star. Nonetheless, our relationship really grew as I entered the motorsports world and instantly found his unmatched ardour and vitality for our sport and his great dedication to our total neighborhood.
“Robin was each a real good friend and trusted confidant who by no means shied away from giving his sincere opinion and blunt, however typically invaluable, recommendation. No one beloved racing extra, he was a real pleasure to work with and left an unforgettable and completely distinctive mark on each IndyCar and the Racing Capital of the World.
“We prolong our deepest condolences to his household and pals, alongside along with his loyal and sizeable legion of readers internationally. There merely received’t be one other Robin Miller, and he’ll at all times maintain a spot in our hearts.”
Miller, a lifelong bachelor, is survived by a sister, Diane, and nieces Emily and Ashley.