FULTON, N.Y. – The father and son race team of Eric and A.J. Miller make the long tow to Fulton Speedway every Saturday night from their Fultonville, N.Y., home to compete in the DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman division.
In 2019 the team will increase by one as Cortland, N.Y., racer Dale Planck will be behind the wheel weekly at Fulton in a DIRTcar 358 Modified.
Planck is not new to the Miller race team. Planck’s son Brandon, who is the owner of DIG Race Products, has worked weekly with the race team with DIG shocks and set-ups for A.J. Miller who has been racing Sportsman since 2016.
“It has been a long time since I have done this weekly. I hope I didn’t forget how to do this,” Planck said with humor about getting back into the weekly racing battles.
With 61 wins and four track championships alone at the Fulton Speedway, it’s highly doubtful that Planck forgot how to get around the track.
Planck said that he can’t thank Eric Miller enough for the opportunity to get back in a car and to be able to mentor a young racer eager to learn like AJ Miller is.
Being back in a car weekly can only help further develop DIG Race Products when Planck can feel exactly what the car is doing on race nights for different track conditions.
During the off-season Eric Miller purchased a hauler to be able to bring both cars to the track and as of this writing is having a new DIRT legal 358 built by LJL Kevlar Racing engines to go between the rails of Planck’s Bicknell chassis.
Eric Miller related having Dale and Brandon a phone call away, at the race shop and at the race track has been invaluable for shock packages and setups in his son A.J.’s learning curve.
“I can watch A.J. on the track and tell him what I see, but I’m not a driver,” Eric Miller said. “Having Dale there to watch A.J. on the track has been huge.”
Dale Planck will strap into the Pioneer Windows MFG, DIG Race Products, NHKelman Inc. Scrap Recycling, Bill Lake Modular Homes, Bicknell, in his familiar No. 77x.
A.J. Miller, a freshman in college, has been racing since he was 5 years old. He won many championships in Karts and moved up to the 600 Modifieds in 2014. In 2016 they bought a Sportsman to run with the 600 Modified before going Sportsman only in 2017.
In 2019 A.J. Miller will be behind the wheel of the Pioneer Window MFG. Corp., DIG Race Products, NHKelman Inc. Scarp Recycling, Bill Lake Modular Homes, Bicknell, No. 14AJ DIRTcar Sportsman. He will also have a limited amount of starts in the 358 DIRTcar Modified at Utica-Rome Speedway to get ready for the next step in his career.
With many tracks to go to A.J. Miller talked about the reason they make the two-hour drive to the Fulton Speedway.
“I love Fulton because the track is challenging and not just hammer down. The drivers there are some of the best in the Sportsman division and that helps you become a better driver,” A.J. Miller said.
A.J. Miller also added he really likes that everyone gets to run a feature and nobody is sent home.
“Most of all it reminds me of my Karting days and the family atmosphere.”
The conversation turned to what Dale and Brandon Planck have meant to his racing.
“Dale has made a huge difference in my driving with his consulting because he can sit back and watch as a driver who has spent many years at the track and tell me what I’m doing wrong,” A.J. Miller said. “He also tells me what I’m doing right and to keep doing it.
“He also tells me all the time that a setup that works for somebody else most likely will never work for me,” A.J. Miller said.
He said one thing he likes about Dale and has been a huge help beyond driving is he always has a story.
“Whether there is something that happened on the track that has upset me or I didn’t qualify for a race or we broke, working on the cars or even a good night there is always a story from his career that you will hear.
“I’ve been angry on the track and after the race, within five minutes of talking to Dale he has me laughing and I forget all about it.”
Eric and A.J. Miller both said the Planck’s bring a lot to the table with experience but it has also been great having their family as friends and working alongside them. The Planck’s said the same making it a win for everyone involved in the family sport of racing.