The sudden, sickening realization that the brakes are no longer functional is enough to send an icy spike down the spine of even the most veteran driver. Braking force is paramount…if the brakes can’t slow you down, everything else is going to be that much worse. At over 170 miles an hour, you don’t even have time to panic…you have to have your last-ditch program ready to go at a blink of an eye, ready to accept the consequences, whatever they are. Joel Miller’s crash at the 2017 was one of those moments, and his reaction to the situation was textbook perfect
Coming off of the Ullman Straight into Sunset Bend, Miller’s Mazda RT24-P needed to scrub speed down immediately just to make the turn, but it was obvious from the moment he hit the pedal that something wasn’t right…the right-rear brake was not in the game, so as you watch the video carefully, you will see that the Mazda is scrubbing speed, but nowhere near as fast as it needed to in order to make the turn. And that is when you see Miller straighten out the car and drive it head-on into the tire barrier, hard enough that the concrete behind it shifted a few inches. While there’s no doubt that wasn’t a pleasant sensation, the tire barriers absorb and deflect the energy of the crash. The Mazda was hurt, but managed to return to racing later on in the day, forty laps down, only to retire out before the finish.