Right before Keni Miller, 13, of Pleasant Hill gets into her racecar, she has a lot excitement, as well as nerves. That’s to be expected before any competition.
However, she knows one of her biggest fans is, somewhere, rooting and cheering her on.
That fan would be her father, Kenny Miller, who died from cancer in 2009.
“I kind of know that he’s watching over me,” Miller said.
Recently, Miller won her junior front-wheel drive race at Clarke County Speedway. She was against six other cars.
“It was my third race, so I was pretty proud of myself,” Miller said.
All in the family
Racing is a tradition in the Miller family. It’s something that gets passed down a generation. Miller’s two older brothers also race.
Charlie Mundy, the carpentry and building trades instructor for Southwestern Community College, is Miller’s uncle. She said Mundy’s son does truck races at Clarke County Speedway.
There was another special person in Miller’s life who used to race — her father Kenny. His vehicle number was 1K.
Now, that number 1K is being used by Miller.
When Miller’s racing career began, she said she knew she wanted that number.
“It’s taking after him,” Miller said.
Her father, whom Miller was named after, used to race a hobby stock vehicle.
“As far as I remember, he raced anywhere there was a race — state fairgrounds, Webster City, Boone, Stuart,” Miller said.
Just about every other Saturday, Miller can be found racing at Clarke County Speedway. She does heat and feature races.
Miller’s car is stored at her brother’s house, and on race days, her routine includes going over there and getting stuff ready for the competition. In the Miller family, racing is a family affair.
For now, Miller only races at Clarke County Speedway, since she said a lot of raceways have an age limit of needing to be 14 to drive.
There are other girls out there the same age as Miller who love to race. Miller said she has seen three other female racers in her age group, and they are even younger than her.
Just like Dad
Next year, Miller expects to enter the races at Stuart and Webster City, the same places her father used to compete.
“When I was younger, 4 or 5, I remember getting a family picture with his race car,” Miller said.
At only age 13, Miller still has a long racing career ahead of her. However, her main goal is to end up like her father.
“He always used to win races,” she said. “He was really good at it.”