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Ray Miller Makes Drag Racing History in His Monza With Indy Super Street Win

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    Ray Miller drove his 1975 Chevy Monza to the Super Street title at the U.S. Nationals. He is shown at the Indy LODRS race in August. / Photo by Fred Noer
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    Mark Smith, who has dominated Division 3 Super Street competition this season, put on another impressive performance at the U.S. Nationals but was stopped in the final. His '82 Mustang is shown at the Indy LODRS race in August. / Photo by Fred Noer
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    Phil Smida drove his 1988 Chevy Cavalier to the Super Gas title at the 2013 U.S. Nationals and came close to a Super Street win this year but bowed out in the semifinals. He is shown at the Columbus points race in mid-July. / Photo by Fred Noer

SUPER STREET – With the prospect of Super Street never being run at the U.S. Nationals again, each of the 48 entrants wanted to capitalize on the unique opportunity to win. Ray Miller was the one who did.

Miller, running his 1975 Monza out of Mansfield, Ohio, made history on Sunday, Sept. 6 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis because S/ST was contested for the first – and perhaps only – time at The Big Go.

Due to the pandemic and State of Illinois regulations, the Jeg’s All-Stars race was switched from Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., to Indy. The race always has included S/ST, so the U.S. Nationals was opened to the category for the first time in the 66-year history of the event, which this year was sponsored by Denso Spark Plugs.

The victory was Miller’s first at a national event. He won it convincingly, particularly in the last two rounds when he defeated Division 3 heavy hitters Phil Smida and Mark Smith. Smida has three division championships, and points leader Smith is on course to win his first title this season.

Miller first took the measure of Smida in the semifinals. After an even leave, Miller’s Monza ran a 10.903 at 131.86 to Smida’s 1988 Cavalier running a 10.910 at 138.05.

No Room for Smith in Miller's .009 Package

In the final, Miller could not have commanded a more dominating performance by putting together a .009 package. He was .004 on the tree and .005 over the index at 139.14. Smith hit his best reaction time of the race with a .011, but his 1982 Mustang turned a 10.921 at 148.43 that made for a .033 package.

Miller had a .006 light in round three and turned a 10.912 at 140.78 against Morgan Napier of D3. She broke out after leaving with a .027 and running .018 under at 143.47.

In round two, Miller was lucky. Jeg’s All-Stars winner Kristopher Thies of D5 jumped to a big lead with a .002 light (to Miller’s .020), and both racers broke out. Thies ran under by .031 and Miller by .015. In the first round he beat Jordan Pratt of D5.

To reach the final, Smith first defeated Kevin MacNicol of D2 and then Brittany DeVore of D4 in the second round. Larry Rzepczynski of D3 turned a 10.907 to head the ladder after round one, but he ran under at 10.839 at 120.37 against Smith, who was safe at 10.949 at 151.15.

Prior to his round-five bye into the final, Smith benefited from another breakout in round four against Ray Dew of D4. He had a .012-.025 lead off the line but ran under by .051. Smith was good at .035 over at 154.26.

Smida, who drove his Cavalier to the Indy S/G win in 2013, was on course to duplicate that in S/ST until his semis loss to Miller. Smida advanced that far by winning over David Gotts of D7 and D3 racers Kelly Sperry, Rudy Matthews, and Jason Hennessey.