Miller Speeds To Powerboat Racing's Triple Crown
By John Singleton
Severna Park has a new world champion!
This past summer Chuck Miller swept the Triple Crown of Powerboat Racing, which includes the U.S. Summer Nationals, Canadian Nationals an d World Championship of Inboard Powerboat Racing.
"I was born into racing. My fathers been powerboat racing for 60 years. Ive been racing since I was 14," said Miller, 49, a Severna Park resident. "To this day my dad doesnt miss a race."
Never before has the Triple Crown been run in the United States, but from July 22-25 the event combined with the Cambridge Classic, a 100-year old powerboat race first held in 1911 in tiny Cambridge, MD. In terms of boat count, the Cambridge Classic/Triple Crown was one of the largest inboard powerboat races ever held in the U.S., with more than 122 entries from all over North America.
"We had the top racers and the most competitive boats on the continent," said Allen Nelson, Executive Director for the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce. "What Chuck Miller accomplished by winning the Triple Crown in this venue was significant."
Assisted by a "flying start," Miller hit the starting line on July 25 at 130mph and never slowed down during the decisive five-mile final race. Two qualifying heats on July 23 and 24, in which Miller defeated nine of the fastest power boats in the country, including the current world record holder from Seattle, led to the championship run.
Like NASCAR drivers, many powerboat racers compete for points toward a year-end championship. They travel from competition to competition between the East and West Coasts. But not Miller, hes focused on breaking records.
"We strictly target the title race level divisional, national, and world events," Miller said. "When the time and conditions are right we try to set world records."
Larry Lauterbach of Lauterbach Custom Boats on Kent Island designed and built the 20-foot, national modified, inboard hydroplane boat Miller drives, known as the Lauterbach Special. The 308 cubic inch motor has a 650 horsepower engine that runs on methanol and has been officially clocked at more than 156mph.
"I hand-picked Chuck to take my place when I retired after 44 years of competitive racing," Lauterbach said. "So far, Chucks undefeated racing the Lauterbach Special. Hes one of the fastest drivers in the world."
But its Millers father, Charley Miller, who has had the greatest impact on his racing career. Charley Miller of Annapolis is 84 years old and never misses a weekend of racing. The senior Miller still guides his son and the teams crew chief, "Cooter" Cusic of Cambridge, in the pits helping to adjust valves, change propellers and work on the fuel injection system.
"Outside of being a great guy and good father, I consider him to be the best driver on the east coast," Charley Miller said of his son. "And Ive been racing for 58 years, so I know what Im talking about."
Chuck Miller grew up in Annapolis and lived 21 years on the Eastern Shore in Queen Anne. In 2009 he moved to Severna Park with his wife Jane and their two children Drew and Hannah. Both children attend Severna Park High School.
"We love living in Severna Park," said Jane Miller. "The kids are close to school. Shopping is easy and convenient and the people are wonderful."