Tales from the strip
Brought to you by Chuck Turocy
March 4, 2014, an interview with G&S Racing president Greg Miller about the 2013 season and more.
CT: Overall, how was the 2013 season? Success, failure, in the middle?
Greg: 2013 was a in the middle kind of year. I am a person who always feels I can do better. In many ways it was a success but in my eyes it can be better.
CT: What do you feel you could have done better?
Greg: The success of the big events has grown larger than before. I now have made changes for the growing pains to fix some of the inconveniences. I want all customers experiences to be the best that they can be and I work hard trying to do that. Everything takes time and it's hard for me to accept that.
CT: What was your highlight of the 2013 season?
Greg: I have a few. The 2 that pop up are winning the Bracket Finals again, and the PID-Keystone Nostalgia Event. We had people non-stop for hours coming in lined up through the intersection at Sheetz. That's part of the success/growing pain that will be corrected for 2014.
CT: What challenge do you feel you most successfully met?
Greg: Keeping the track open, running a good program in a timely fashion, and putting year number 1 under the belt.
CT: Year number 1?? But the rumor mill says the track is closing, being turned into a housing plan, sold to oil companies, and more!
Greg: Rumors are rumors, you wonder where and how some of them even get started. Some live for them. G & S Racing is in a 5 year lease with 1 year done. That leaves a minimum of 4 more years. With the Changes made and continued growing support of both racers and sponsors I can see it extended, by years. It is a lot of work but when you love being around it and involved in it this much, it's worth it.
CT: Is there something from last season you wish you could have a “do over” on?
Greg: I don’t think there was anything, the only thing that I wish was different was out of our control.
CT: I take it you mean the weather? Just how bad did Mother Nature treat you?
Greg: SHE WAS MEAN! 18 total days rained out, others had car count reduced because of the threat of rain.
CT: What are your goals for 2014?
Greg: I would like to continue building the program and adding more sponsors to our family. We have a few different things we are going to try this season to give a variety of options. There are a few changes in my mind for the Facility in making improvements as allotted.
CT: What are your challenges against those goals?
Greg: Mother Nature. If she doesn’t cooperate then it makes things more challenging.
CT: Do you miss being in the racecar and competing?
Greg: I really do. I enjoy racing and I enjoy just being around it. I know a lot of racers have asked over the years how can you just watch, because they are not good spectators. I enjoy all aspects, I like watching, I like helping someone that may need it such as a new racer, and I love participating myself. I will be out to play at some point just not at home.
CT: How did you get into racing?
Greg: I started working at the track when it was Keystone Raceway. I was 14, the computer operator. I been here ever since. My 1st pass down the track was in my 1985 C10 deluxe Chevy pick up. I had a 1972 SBC 350 in it out of a Station Wagon with a factory 2 barrel. I had a .537 reaction time and went low 16’s in the quarter. From that point on it was over.
CT: Why do you enjoy racing/what do you enjoy most about it?
Greg: I love the friends/family most. The competition is tough in which it makes it all that much more fun trying to be on top, and if/when you are it's an awesome feeling.
CT: What was your most memorable race?
Greg: I have a few. Saying I was going to win a race at the Bracket Finals weeks before and winning the Thursday Gamblers which was 9 rounds. Racing Scott in the Semi of the trailer run off race in 2008. Number 1 would probably be a test and tune pass in 2009, when I was testing new fuel System on the Camaro. Scott was in the dragster and telling everyone he was going show me how it was done. When we went to burnout box there was about 40 people around the starting line, watching. When we launched, I looked at his scoreboard 1st and all I saw was a 1, as in .001 reaction time. I knew I was good too, but man, to beat a .001? Well, I looked at mine it was blank! (.000, perfect light!)
CT: What is your most memorable racing moment?
Greg: We lost a special little girl, Nikki Deniker, August 18, 2009. I was Chasing the Modified points Championship the month after she passed, and lost the engine in the Camaro. So with 1 race left, the last points day, I put in an old worn out 461. This 461 lost the oil pressure the season before, and her dad, Bob, and I were checking it out together in his garage. Nikki was trying on her Halloween costume, a witch outfit, complete with a wand, and came out to the garage. We didn't have the oil pan off yet. Bob said, "Cast a spell, Nikki, make this engine all better." She waved her wand, said "Abracadabra," and we dropped the oil pan to find it was just the oil pump pick up that had come off. This is the egnine I used for that last points day, 4 points behind Sonny Kruel, and four racers within 4 points below me. That day I was determined to win. Sonny lost first round, and the others in the hunt lost one at a time. I ended up beating Dave Dortenzo to win the race, and points championship. That Championship was for Bob, Karen, and Ashley, but most of all it was dedicated to Nikki.
CT: What is your favorite car, either racing or street?
Greg: Which one let's see, Camaro, Cadillac CTS V, new Silverado... That should do.
CT: If you could own any car in the world what would it be?
Greg: I would say a Pro Stocker.
CT: If you could race anyone in the world who would it be?
Greg: I don’t have an answer to this. I would enjoy climbing through the ranks and racing all the competitors in each class.
CT: Do you have any interesting pre-race rituals or superstitions?
Greg: However the day starts, we don’t change routine until we are done.
CT: What do you do for fun besides racing?
Greg: Work, do different things with family and friends.
CT: People/sponsors you would like to thank?
Greg: All of them. The list has grown and continues to grow. Without their support we wouldn’t be doing this.
CT: What is your favorite all-time movie?
Greg: I don’t watch much TV or Movies. I would have to say Urban Hillbilly Videos hahaha.
CT: What is your favorite music?
Greg: I like all types of Music. It depends on my mood that day.
CT: Besides racing, what is your favorite sport?
CT: What is your favorite place to eat?
Greg: I am a meat and potatoes guy. A good steak or BBQ sounds good to me. I like Applebees Shrimp Parm Sirloin.
CT: What is your favorite TV show?
Greg: Drag racing when it's on.
CT: What celebrity would you most like to meet?
Greg: Jennifer Anniston!
CT: If you could travel to any point in history where would you go?
Greg: I think I would like to do the 60’s
CT: What are you most proud of in your life?
Greg: Raising a young Son into a mature young man, and accomplishing the things I have.
CT: Where did you go on your last vacation?
Greg: Last real vacation was Disney, but I had a number of work/race related mini-vacations.
CT: What’s the funniest or most interesting thing you have ever seen at a drag strip?
Greg: Well I have seen some really funny and interesting things from being in this position. We (the PRP staff) have a lot of fun and compete ourselves. But one of the funniest that comes to mind is a picture hanging in Carmen's Café with Jim Shuman at top end on 2 wheels and 3 of us running in the picture. Jim came down and the parachute got tangled so he was on the binders pretty good. Tony Fagnilli said "I'm not moving, " but I said "I am out of here!" I went right and Jim went right, I went left and Jim went left. After a few dances I said see ya! Now look in the Picture and I'm running, Tony is running right behind me and Doug Solochier standing on home plate ready to catch him out, screaming "Oh @#$%!" The best part was Jim got the car stopped before the PRP Beach.
CT: If you weren't racing you would be...?
Greg: Into something, I never sat back to relax. I was always into doing something. And I'm sure it would pertain to cars.
CT: What scares you most?
Greg: Mother Nature!
CT: Where did you go to high school? Did you participate in any activities?
Greg: Kiski Area and played baseball.
CT: What is a bad habit that you would like to break?
Greg: Thinking I can do more than possible in a short period of time. I have to keep reminding myself it cannot all be done at once.