After a successful rookie campaign, Vinnie Miller will return to the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2019, set for the full schedule with B.J. McLeod Motorsports. Recently, the Michigan native offered his thoughts entering the year for POPULAR SPEED.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into the season?
VINNIE MILLER: I’m obviously very excited to go to Daytona and start off the year. That’s a historical race and a historical weekend. It’s a very fun track, for me it is anyway. I like plate racing; I don’t know what it is about it, but I just enjoy it more than most people I guess. I think it’s because everything is kind of all the same, like most of the cars of the same as you’re restricted. So the race comes down to – there’s a little bit of skill there, but also knowledge, but you have to have a really good pit strategy and know how to get on and off pit road quick, when you should pit, when you should get fuel, and not go a lap down.
So I’m looking forward to that, and also being with my new team, B.J. McLeod Motorsports. I had a little bit of a rough year last year being a rookie season, struggling a little bit, but learned a lot. So I’m excited to take what I learned last year and I’m excited to see how me and B.J’s team work through the whole year since we already had a few races under our belt that we got to get to know each other. I think it’s going to be a really good situation going into the 2019 season.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your goals and expectations?
VINNIE: I would say goals for 2019 season are finish a few more races than I did last year. I had a lot of mechanical problems last year, I made a few mistakes and wrecked racecar that I shouldn’t have done, so that’s a goal. Another goal of mine is to have fun. When we’re traveling and racing, racing is obviously the main thing, and then B.J’s team likes to go out and travel and do fun things while we’re on the road so I’m excited to do all that stuff.
I’d say another goal would be – I think I’m going to be in a good enough position this year that I can possibly get top-20 in driver’s points. So that’s what I’m going to go for entering the year.
PS: Beyond Daytona, what track are you most looking forward to?
VINNIE: Dover. I like Dover. It’s a really hard track, but for some reason, I seem to run decently run well there and it fits my driving style and it’s my favorite track to go to and I’m glad that we get to go there twice.
PS: What is one track that you wish that was on the schedule that currently isn’t?
VINNIE: I’ve never really thought about it. If I had to guess or say one – oh geez, that’s rough. I really don’t know. I like all the tracks that we go to and I’m pretty content with all those. I think it may be cool to go back to old Myrtle Beach Speedway. It’s old, worn out, it’s a short track, and it eats up tires; it’d be a fun one to go to – that or Nashville. Nashville would be another fun short track that I think we should go to.
PS: You spoke about last season already, but what’s something that you learned last year that you feel will help moving forward?
VINNIE: I think patience in the racecar. Last year, I was eager to get a lot of stuff done while I was driving. Towards the end of the year, I learned that the more patient you are towards the end of the race, and being smooth, you can really gain spots by attrition in the race and if you save your equipment, you can drive by cars that use up their tires towards the end of the race. So I think that’ll be a big key in something that I learned last year that will help me.
Also, just race craft overall in being smart – smooth restarts, taking care of your car and not banging it up; some of those bigger tracks we go to, not banging up the car and having the car aerodynamically perfect like the beginning of the race plays into it a lot.
PS: If you were in charge of NASCAR for one day, what is one change you would make?
VINNIE: I’d probably do a few more rules changes for the tech to make the cars overall a lot more equal at every race, and not just on plate racing and tracks where we have restricted motors. That’d be a big help and it’d create better racing in my opinion.
PS: We’ve seen a lot of talk recently about drivers wanting to try different series and cars. Is there anything on your wish list?
VINNIE: Down the road, I definitely want to drive a sprint car; I’ve never been on dirt so I think that would be a really fun experience. I’ve been in late models before; I wouldn’t mind hopping back into a late model at some point in my career. It’s just fun to go out short track racing and it’s really competitive. Then I don’t know if I’d ever want to race one of these cars because they’re so fast and wicked, but I definitely want to drive an IndyCar and Formula 1 car at some point in my life – even though it will probably never happen.
PS: Hey, never say never because you never know as the opportunity may come about….
VINNIE: That’s true. If it happens, I’ll be excited. I’ll probably be scared to death while in the thing because like I said they’re wicked fast and cost so much money, but it’d be wicked fun.
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