A well-respected and innovative promoter of special events, past track and series official and former co-owner of a touring 360 Sprint Car Racing series, Bob Miller (DOB: August 1, 1955) has a long history with the Sport and Business of Automobile Racing.
As much as he liked going to the auto races at the old half-mile-dirt Reading (PA) Fairgrounds, Miller never wanted to be a race-car driver. He always wanted to be the guy in the tower at the top of the grandstand who was putting on the event and making the decisions about how the show was going.
So, with encouragement from his father Russ who told him that you have to go after what you want, he made an appointment to see EMPA Hall of Fame member and legendary promoter Lindy Vicari to ask him for a job. And – after toiling for three months at the Bingo games that the Reading Stock Car Association impresario was running in the Fairgrounds Banquet Hall – Miller’s motorsports career began at one of Dirt-Track Modified Stock Car Racing’s most famous tracks as a Scorer and Program Writer (1974-1978).
Then from 1978-1982, 1987-1989 and 1993-1995 he worked at the 5/8-mile-dirt Bridgeport (NJ) Speedway in such varied capacities as Scoring Coordinator, Race Director and Media & Public Relations Representative for promoter George Wingate. And he also was Bridgeport’s promoter (1983-1984) where he introduced the “Bridgeport 4-Dozen” – four 12-lap features for Big-Block Dirt-Track Modified Stock Cars in one night.
But Miller’s efforts were not only at the local level as from 1979-2005 he worked for EMPA Hall of Famer Glen Donnelly and DIRT Motorsports in Media Relations for Super DIRT Week at the old 1-mile-dirt New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Plus, he handled Media Relations (1982-1990) for Asphalt Modified Stock Car Racing’s “Race of Champions” on Pocono (PA) Raceway’s old .75-mile infield oval and was Media Director/Race Director (1983-1985) for MODCAR, a traveling Dirt-Track Modified Stock Car series.
Miller likewise had a long tenure (1985-2004) as Media Director, Race Director and Club Officer of the United Racing Club Sprint Car Series where he: brought corporate sponsorship to the group when Kendall Motor Oil was named URC Tour Sponsor (1986); established a URC Canadian Tour (1989); took URC to the one-third-mile-dirt, high-banked Grandview (PA) Speedway where the sanctioning group returned to Wingless Sprint Car Racing under the Eastern Wingless Sprints of America banner (1994); and, created with the New York State-based Empire Super Sprints the URC-ESS Sprint Challenge Series (1994-2012).
To help celebrate the United Racing Club’s 50th Season of Sprint Car Racing in 1997, Miller – who has worked for the Pepsi-Cola Company since 1970 and is PepsiCo, Incorporated’s Lead Technical Service Manager – organized a URC event at the famed half-mile-dirt Knoxville Raceway in Iowa and this proved to be such a well-received show that it continues today as “The Tournament of Champions,” a nationally known 360 Sprint Car Racing event.
Then in a historic move to improve the fortunes of the United Racing Club and 360 Sprint Car Racing, Miller, his wife Donna, and John & Cher Zimmerman became co-owners (2005-2014) of the United Racing Club and transitioned it into the United Racing Company.
Off-season activities were also part of Miller’s interests as he presented the Reading Racing Reunion & Car Show (1986-2014) at the Fairgrounds Square Mall in Reading (the site of the former Reading Fairgrounds Speedway) and in 2008 originated the Dirt Track Heroes & Car Show at the Phillipsburg (NJ) Mall.
Miller – who now lives in St. Pete Beach, Florida, but resides during the racing season in Ocean City, Maryland – has also worked with several sanctioning bodies to head their racing activities (he ran the DIRT Motorsports Southeast Big-Block Modified Touring Series in 2003-2004) or to bring those races to the Northeast (such as the USAC Sprint Cars “Eastern Storm” Series, USAC Midget Racing and the All Star Circuit of Champions 410 Sprint Car Series).
However, he is probably best known for his “Thunder On The Hill” mid-week shows at Grandview Speedway that began in 1990 in partnership with the late Grandview Speedway owner and EMPA Hall of Fame member Bruce Rogers.
The goal of these programs was showcase 410 Sprint Cars, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars, Dirt-Track Modifieds and so much more. And through the hard work that Miller devoted to “Thunder On The Hill” it quickly attracted an all-star roster of top competitors and during its first 30 years (1990-2019) over $4.6 million in prize money was paid out to its participants.
But more importantly, this long-running and exceptionally-successful racing series has been an equally-popular one for its racers and its fans.