RACER and NBC Sports IndyCar journalist Robin Miller was honored by the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in a special ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday ahead of this weekend’s Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on the IMS road course.
Miller is one of nine motorsport luminaries being formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Pontiac, Mich., next month as part of the Class of 2021. Ongoing health problems will prevent him from being able to attend the event in person, so his achievement was instead recognized before hundreds of friends from across the racing world at the track with which his name has become synonymous.
“I’m 71 years old, and today was the best day of my life,” Miller told RACER. “To be honored by the Motorsports Hall of Fame and have all my friends and all these great drivers and mechanics show up, and then spend four hours having lunch with (A.J.) Foyt… I don’t know how you can top that.
“Randy Bernard was going to charter a jet and take me with all of my buddies to Detroit (for the induction ceremony), and I said, ‘Randy, bless your heart, that’s such a nice gesture, but I can’t stray too far from home.’
“But I spoke in front of 400 people, just off the top of my head, and… I mean this sincerely, this is the greatest time of my life. I’m dying, and I don’t give a ****. You can’t replace the memories and the friendships, and to have guys like Dario Franchitti and Jimmie Johnson and A.J. all coming over… you can’t prepare yourself for that. I went from stealing beer for Jim Hurtubise, and now I’m in the Hall of Fame with all of the greatest drivers, mechanics and car owners. You can’t quantify that. It was so unexpected and so flattering.”
While Miller’s writing has long been defined by his willingness to call things as he sees them, every word he has written has been underpinned by absolute sincerity, and a fundamental desire to advocate for open-wheel racing in America. Fishing for adulation never factored into the equation, and Miller believes that the kid who stole beer for Hurtubise in the late 1960s would not be able to fathom where his journey would ultimately take him.
This makes me smile big time!!Robin Miller today! 13 Championships in and and a 1980 Hut Hundred feature qualifier – 5th out of 75 👍
— Steve H. Shunck (@SHUNCK)
“There’s no what he could ever comprehend it,” Miller said. “You just can’t imagine… To hear your heroes talking about your life and your career; you can’t plan for that. You don’t have any idea that people are going to recognize you and be so supportive. It’s so humbling.
“You cannot imagine feeling the way they make me feel today. I’ve cried 10 times in my life and five of those was in the last month, because you get so emotional thinking about what these people are doing for me financially and emotionally, just trying to support me. You cannot know there’s that kind of love and support out there. Racers are a bunch of hard-asses, but it is such a people sport, and you don’t realize until something like this. I mean, the people that showed up… unbelievable.
“I wish everybody that loves racing could experience what I experienced today. Best day of my life.”