He stooged for Jim Hurtubise, got sucker-punched by AJ Foyt, telephoned an enraged Bernie Ecclestone at 3am on his uber-secret private line and channeled Tony Hulman via Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Hotline . . . and penned some of the most passionate and insightful words in motorsports history while serving as the sport’s lead raconteur on television and radio. But until today, Robin Miller had not been given the official recognition he deserved at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
That was rectified with the announcement of the first Robin Miller Award, honoring his lifetime of contributions to the Indianapolis 500 and the sport of IndyCar racing. As an indication of the respect and affection in which he is held by the IndyCar racing community, the award announcement was attended by Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford and Bobby Unser, among others.
“One thing for sure – there’s only one Robin Miller,” said Andretti. “And thank goodness for that. But I don’t think anyone has done more to try to present Indianapolis to the world than Robin has done. By hook or crook, he was always there, and there is no bigger pleasure than to share this 50th anniversary with Robin. There’s no-one more deserving that him and here we are, he’s immortalized in an award.”
“Thank God there’s only one Robin Miller,” echoed Foyt. “We’ve had our ups and downs. We still have our ups and downs. It still chafes me, who’s been here the longest. As long as y’all running second and I’m running first.”
Unser referenced his long friendship with the writer and broadcaster.
“Robin Miller is one of the best friends I’ve had for many, many years,” he said. “And don’t think I’ve gotten away clean from that, because he’s nailed me a couple of times. We think this is very deserving. You are our man.”
Rutherford shared Unser’s sentiments.
“You’ve been a dear friend for a number of years, and we’ll always love you no matter how bad you talk,” he said. “You’re one of us.”
The plaque states that the award is ‘honoring an unheralded individual who has dedicated a significant portion of their life to IndyCar racing while bringing unbridled passion and unrelenting work ethic to enrich the sport.’
“These guys were my heroes growing up – AJ beat me up in 1981 but we became friends again – and now we’re all buddies,” said Miller, who will cover his 50th Indianapolis 500 this weekend.
“When you’ve spent your whole life doing this… obviously you’re not very intelligent – look at the company surrounding me; they’ve been upside-down, they’ve been dead a few times – but the great thing about this sport is these guys, and the people who gravitate towards them. You can never get enough of them.
“Anyway, very nice of you guys to show up for this. They usually give you these when you’re dead. Thank you, guys. It’s a fun day to be Robin Miller.”