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Drag racer Ak Miller, Dec. 15

Drag racer Ak Miller, Dec. 15 Ak Miller, a pioneer drag racer who had a career as a driver and car builder in many facets of motor racing for six decades, died Friday, Dec. 15, 2005, of a heart attack in a rest home in Pico Rivera, Calif. He was 84. Miller began his racing career on Southern California's dry lakes in the 1930s as a charter member of the Roadrunners, one of a group of car clubs that created the Southern California Timing Assn. and the National Hot Rod Assn. He served twice as president of the SCTA and was a charter member of the NHRA, serving as vice president with Wally Parks as the founding president. In 1953, Miller had no trailer and no sponsor except for Hot Rod magazine, so he drove his homemade hot rod from his home in Whittier Calif., to Juarez, Mexico, for the start of the La Carrera Panamericana, a race that spans the length of Mexico and celebrates the completion of the Pan-American Highway in 1950. Then he "did a little fine-tuning," raced over the 2,000-mile course for six days and drove back home. "We were young and tough," Miller recalled once. "We could race for 20 hours and we wanted to prove a hot rod could do it." In this undated photo, Miller is at the wheel with Hot Rod magazine’s Ray Brock, left, and Wally Parks at Pikes Peak Hill Climb, which Miller won nine times. National Dragster Archives