Roger Miller (GRAND-AM photo)

Roger Miller, driver and son of Utah business icon Larry, dies unexpectedly

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Late, sad news has emerged after the weekend’s GRAND-AM events at Kansas Speedway. Roger Miller, a competitor in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and son of former Utah Jazz owner and businessman Larry H. Miller, died Sunday at age 45.

According to a report by The Salt Lake Tribune, no cause of death was listed and the family issued a brief statement.

“Roger was a gentle soul and he will be missed,” his brother Greg Miller said in the statement.

Roger Miller competed with co-driver Ian James in Continental’s GS class, in a Dempsey Racing-prepared Ford Mustang Boss 302R. The pair finished 11th overall in Saturday’s SFP Grand Prix race at Kansas.

Larry H. Miller died in 2009. A businessman and philanthropist in Utah, he also had an impact on motorsports as he conceived the Miller Motorsports Park permanent road course outside Salt Lake City in Tooele, one of the country’s top road racing facilities. The full track was opened in 2006.

Further information is likely to follow in the coming days.

UPDATE: 11:45 a.m. ET, Monday: Patrick Dempsey, Dempsey Racing team principal, tweeted the following on Monday morning:

 

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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