Dick Miller’s first introduction to Vancouver Island oval track racing came at the the age of 12 when he watched his uncle Frank Dyer race at the old “Langford Speedway”.
His first actual involvement at a racetrack came in the early 1950’s when he sold chips in the grandstands at Western Speedway. In 1955, Dick became a pit crew member on his uncle Frank’s stockcar that was driven by Lamont Brooks which he also did during the following season. 1957 saw him assisting the #56 car driven by Billy Foster. His final crewing year was in 1962 when he was again with his uncle’s car, the #21 ’34 Ford coupe driven by Brian Willson who captured the #1 spot in Island stockcar points that season.
The following year Dick got behind the wheel of his 1st racecar, a 1949 Ford 4 door sedan which he bought off a friend for $35.00 and ran in Western’s “Jalopy” class with Roy Haslam as his crew chief. The first time out, the car’s engine blew and was replaced with another that cost $10.00. With no other modifications, that engine powered the car to several wins and good finishes including a new track record and 3 trophy dash victories out of the 6 that were run at Western that year. Dick ended the 1963 season 4th in the Island jalopy points race.
For the 1964 racing season, which was to be Dick’s best to date, he built up another Ford, a ’49 Tudor sedan which he found sitting in a gas station with a $10.00 storage fee owing on it. Paying the fee, the sedan, now out of “car jail”, showed it’s gratitude by enabling Dick to win a staggering total of 28 trophy dashes (10 of them being in a row) at Western and Grandview Bowl. In addition, crew chief Roy Haslam (who would go on to have his own stellar driving career) won his very first race that year in it, a “Mechanic’s Race” in Nanaimo. Dick was crowned the jalopy “Island Points Champion” enabling him to sport the number “1” on his car the following year.
In 1965, Dick and his uncle Frank put a new ’49 Ford coupe body on last year’s car and with pit assistance from Norm Wilcox and Gary Kershaw, finished 7th in the year-end standings. The following season saw him at the wheel of a 1953 Ford with Ron Drewery and Norm Wilcox helping out in the pits and “Big Ben’s Drive-in” as the car’s sponsor.
A work transfer moved him to Nanaimo for 1967 where he drove for the likes of Skip Hallgarth, Bobby Courser and John Green, winning a number of races till the end of the decade when he retired from driving. Dick continued to be involved in Nanaimo’s racing scene, serving on the MIARA (Mid Island Auto Racing Association) executive until he finally stepped away from auto racing in 1972.
Dick passed away peacefully at the age of 76 in April of 2019, leaving many former drivers who recalled him as a respected fellow competitor and a host of fans who had cheered him on to the many victories he recorded; showing one and all that he had what it took to get behind the wheel of a racecar.