LIMA — Racing fans were in for a treat when the NRA Sprint Invaders competed in the Run for the Rabbit race Friday at Limaland Motorsports Park, a memorial race in honor of Elida’s Travis Miller.
This year brought a special moment to the racing scene.
Tim Allison, who competes in the sprints, decided to change his car in order to make it look exactly like Miller’s.
Allison usually has number 11 on his vehicle but this week he sported Miller’s 17M look. The front also had a sketch drawing of Miller.
“I’m just a part of this idea,” Allison said. “Pete Miller and Von Tucker came to me about two months ago. We wanted to tribute and change my colors and put all of Travis’ colors and sponsors on my car. Travis was a good friend. This was a secret, my wife and kids didn’t even know this until about four days ago.”
Keith Miller, Travis’s dad, did not know about the car until Allison surprised him with it right before hot laps started Friday. This became a touching moment for everyone involved.
“This just goes to show you what everybody thought of Travis,” Miller said. “I’ve handled this all these years really well but this one got to me.”
All of the parts from the car will be auctioned off and proceeds will go to the Travis Miller Scholarship Fund at Elida City Schools.
The highest bidders win the wings, the hood and the body panel.
“This is just all about Travis and remembering a great friend,” Allison said. “Travis was a great friend, a great hero and he was an Elida hero who was a hometown kid. We miss him dearly. He was a great racer who comes from a great family.”
Miller is pleased with the publicity and turnout every year for this race.
“It about made me speechless,” Miller said. “It’s just great, this is our 13th race, and it’s hard to keep memorial races going. We put a lot of sponsorship money in it the first couple of years. Lima Auto Mall got involved in it and brought it up to $2,000 for the winner.”
Miller also pointed out drivers come from all over just to compete and honor his son.
“It brings some of the older guys back who Travis competed against,” Miller said. “It’s just a great cause and a great memory. It doesn’t go away.”
Allison competed against Travis Miller over the years and enjoyed every minute of it.
“Travis and I used to have a lot of rivalries back in the day,” Allison said. “I used to have a carrot on my car and he had a rabbit on his. I put a rabbit on this car in memory of him. It’s all about remembering him.”
For results from Friday’s races, see Sunday’s sports section.