Andy Miller Remembered
Andy Miller was the third of five drivers to play "musical cockpits" with Bob Fendler's Lincoln Thrift’s 7-1/4% Special in 1973. The other four were George Henley, Gene Whipp, Danny Walls, and Jack Brown.
Miller was a veteran inboard competitor. At the time of his Lincoln Thrift hiring, he indicated, "I've driven 50 heats a year for 18 years. That's 900 heats."
Andy had a heavy foot. But he had a problem in starting the turbocharged Allison engine. That's why he was fired after only two races.
I remember watching Miller battle head-to-head with Mickey Remund and the National Champion Pay 'N Pak at Owensboro, Kentucky. Andy made Remund work for it.
The U-29 was fast but a terribly erratic boat, no matter who was driving. As Henley described it after the 1972 Seattle Seafair Regatta, "It was up and down, up and down, all day long."
Years later, I was interviewing Whipp, who had won the 1973 President's Cup with Lincoln Thrift and then retired undefeated.
I told Gene, "Miller was the only one who had the guts to drive it as fast as you did." Gene replied, "Yeah, but if he had kept on driving it, he would have killed himself."
My friend Ray Dong has a vivid recollection of watching Andy Miller in a Limited race in 1975. According to Ray, it was an incredible sight: "He was going over the finish line. Both sponsons were in the air. He was waving to the crowd!"
Miller’s friend and fellow driver Tom Kaufman once described Andy as “a 50-year-old hippie.”
Long absent from the competitive arena, Miller passed away after a battle with Cancer. Andy died at home. He didn’t believe in doctors.