We got a little lost there with our Tuesday Ten interviews but we are making an effort to bring them back consistently.
This gentlemen really needs no introduction and we thank him for his time -- Chris Miller.
Photo Courtesy of Facebook.com/TheSauceSport
#1 – What does a typical day for Chris Miller consist of? What are some of your priorities to get done and long term projects during a normal business day? What is your favorite business related activity to do?
A normal day consists of a 5:30ish wake up, the mornings is my family time. I have breakfast with my wife Kristin and my son Jackson. We usually play with some toys or play a game on his IPAD. I’ll go online and answer emails and check out the social media sites for messages etc. After this I go directly to the gym, this is new to my daily activities but it’s really nice and I am enjoying it. After the gym right to office, Steve and I will usually discuss previous night’s orders/emails/return calls and just go over the normal day to day business stuff. Most days I am in NY we have at least 1 tune session lined up and usually this is where I disappear to the back and leave Steve to handle the office and all that fun stuff. We close at 6 so it’s usually pretty hectic right up until we walk out the door with dealing with phones/emails/orders/ text messages etc, etc. As far as priorities, well it’s all a priority. From the smallest order to the guy ordering 1000 gallons of FTW purple I try and stay on each and every order. This is where Steve really helps me out; he is my second set of ears/eyes all day. He knows the business well and he is usually on the ball with making sure everything runs smoothly.
My favorite business activity has to be testing, I do a lot of testing of products for manufacturers and give them real feedback, I have formed a great working relationship with many manufactures because I give them real feedback, real results. I don’t hold back, if the product sucks I tell them, if its good I tell them it could be better.
#2 – Let’s talk long term goals… you have been around for a while and done a lot especially in the last 3-4 years. Where does this all take you? If you aren’t doing it now what is it that you ultimately want to do in the motorsports world?
I love what I do, I truly enjoy racing of all forms. I love being challenged, I love being told that xyz can’t be done or nobody has figured it out. Things like that make my mind go crazy, I will get on a topic and just keep going until I get the results I am after. I find this to be both good and bad, I am very dedicated to what I do and enjoy the mental challenge.
As far as where it takes me I don’t know, I gave it some thought about getting involved in other forms of racing and I even went on a few job interviews with some very big names. They all seemed promising but to relocate my life, leave the sport that I am currently involved in so deeply and truly dedicate myself to that type of work/racing is a huge change that I just couldn’t go through with. As far as the last part of this question I really don’t know, I just want to continue enjoying what I do every day and the day that ends I will take a step back and reevaluate the situation.
#3 – They say you’re best learning experiences are your failures and speed bumps…..you had a very much publicized business break up. What can you take away from the entire situation and learn from going forward?
DONT TRUST ANYONE, end of story. I went through a lot in the split and I was told that I did this and I did that. I just kept doing my thing and will continue to. It has been almost 2 years since I left and I have never been happier or successful in my life. So many doors opened up and some I kicked open but I walked through every damn one and made the best out of every single opportunity. That place is like Apple without Steve Jobs, I am that name, they can do or say whatever they want but at the end when you here that name it’s my face that comes to mind. I branded it that way, I marketed it that way. If they could survive on their own they would have changed the name like the originally said they were going to. I wish them luck.
#4 – You are one of the closest racers to that 7 second street car barrier in a FWD car. Does running that # actually mean anything to you other than being the 1st to do it? How much can you credit being the 1st to hit certain goals to your long term business success?
Absolutely nothing, being the first is cool and brings bragging rights but at the end of the day it’s all about who currently holds the record. I say it all the time and I’ll say it here, for me and my business it’s all about records. That’s what people remember, corporate sponsors want wins and I want records. Ask the fans of FWD Drag Racing who won spring nationals SFWD, All Motor at Honda Day, SFWD at Summerslam, True Street at IREV 1, Outlaw at WCF, AMP at IFO Houston, you get my point by now and I bet 99.99% of the fans couldn’t answer.
Ask those same fans who held the record in each of those respective classes at the times of those events and I bet they can answer. Take a look at every FWD record holder, every single current one and I can proudly say I work with every single one in many more ways than one. Being the first is cool and all but being the best over and over and over is better to me.
#5 – You never seem to back down from an argument and that gives a lot of people a love / hate mentality when it comes with Chris Miller. With everything so easily accessed with the internet and social media currently is the hard ass nature of Chris Miller a conscious decision to continue the character you have created? Is the perception you give ultimately the one you want to be known by?
I never back down from a good argument, I was taught at a young age to speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in. I am no hard ass, I was never a thug/gang banger/mobster; I am me. What you see is what you get type of guy; I am the same here behind a keyboard as I am in person. Oh, and the same no matter who I am in front of, if I have something to say ill say no matter who is around. I have some things where I look back and hit my hand on my forehead and go what the fuck was I thinking. In the end all of those things are what make me who I am, they can’t be taken back and I wouldn’t take them back. They are the things that make "Chris Miller". The perception of Chris Miller is different in the eye of everyone, love me or hate me I am here and I am me.
#6 – What does 2013 have in store for Chris Miller? Do you have an agenda for your racing program? An agenda for your business growth?
WOW, 2013 is going to be even crazier than last year. I don’t have many plans for racing my car as of now due to just not having enough time. I have tons of product development testing lined up. I am already packed with tuning for my clients at events and giving them the track support they all come to me for, I will again be with Prayoonto again this year at every race of their schedule, and of course CCC, Cruz, FCS and the many many other customers we have at each race. I will be running the Sheepey Inc race program here on the east coast for the 2013 season and I have just recently added the Lucimar RWD Honda K series powered car to the list of tasks for the 2013 season. I will be busy as usual. This is all part of my business but back at the offices in NY Steve will continue to try and grow the client list and brands list in the store. He will make sure I am where I need to be when I need to be there. He will make sure the Dyno calendar stays organized which is a hard task all itself. I travel a lot so my schedule gets kind of hectic. I will continue to push the FTW brand and try and make that business grow as much as I possibly can. I have a lot of really great things in the works for the next year for FTW the brand. We had a great reception at PRI and the amount of people using it and trying it blew me away. We have a lot of media coverage coming out here in the next 6 months that will shed more light onto the product and its advantages. Also new for 2013 I have added a CNC block machining center to the list of products we will be offering. This is awesome for us and I am excited to get it all up and running come mid January. The ultimate plan is to do as much as humanly possible within the time that I have to work each day. A minute wasted is a dollar lost.
#7 – What do you credit as the biggest advancement in how quick/fast the FWD Street Cars have gotten over the last 2-3 years?
It has to do with product development and knowledge. Evolution of the sport. You look at who is fast now and who was fast 2-3 years ago and you will see clearly. The rest of the field will always be .3-.4's behind the quickest and fastest and that’s just how things work. The fast guys are the ones figuring shit out and by the time the other ones figure out what they are doing the fast guys have figured out the next. It’s just a cycle and that’s heads up drag racing for you. You don’t like it, they have index and brackets.
#8 – Where does it end? What are the FWD street cars capable of? What is the progression after that limit is met with the FWD Street Cars?
It never ends; it will continue to progress as long as there are people willing to want to want to keep pushing. I think Big Tire Outlaw style (26" tire) FWD street cars are capable of going into the 7's without issue. From the data I have from my 8.00 pass I can find 20 things wrong with it. I think the car can go 7.8's possibly a 7.7x in the exact state it’s in. My car is beyond basic, anyone who has spent 10 minutes looking at it can tell you that. I think the 72mm small tire (24.5") stuff will go really fast, I don’t think .4's are far away and I can see them going .3's and even in the .20's in the next couple seasons. The introduction of new classes will make for new challenges, the 62mm stuff will be fun and I would really really like to see a drag radial class get going again. That was always a fun class to watch.
#9 – Are you still as passionate about what you do today as you did the many years ago when you first got started with racing and in this industry?
Fuck yeah. I lost it there for a little bit but that had to do with who I was surrounded by. Like I said earlier I love going to work every day, I love what I do and USUALLY the people I do it with.
#10 -- What are your hobbies / passions away from the shop and race track
I don’t have many hobbies outside of work/racing, that and my family are my true passions. Passion is a great word; a word that I think describes the way I am about things in my life. I believe without having passion for things you have nothing. My hobbies I guess you could say are cheese, wine, scotch and cigars. I have learned to slow down once in a while and enjoy things like this. Nothing like a good bottle of red and a plate full of good cheeses. My wife gets on me when I go to the cheese and wine shop by the house because I’ll spend a solid hour and sometimes more cheese shopping. The same goes a nice glass of scotch and a cigar.