Fayetteville woman sets new record with oldest car to round AMS track

Jack and Drena Miller and their 1909 Stevens-Duryea Torpedo Speedster at AMS           (Staff Photo by Danny Harrison)
Jack and Drena Miller and their 1909 Stevens-Duryea Torpedo Speedster at AMS
(Staff Photo by Danny Harrison)

A bit of whimsey, maybe, but Atlanta Motor Speedway officials Friday afternoon announced a new track record, though this time not for top speed.

A 1909 Stevens-Duryea Torpedo Speedster set the record for “oldest car to complete a lap” in Atlanta Motor Speedway’s 56-year history. The car was driven by its owner, Fayette County’s own Drena Miller, who lives near Fayetteville with her husband Jack.

AMS Marketing Director Dustin Bixby rode shotgun as Drena booked a 2:23 first lap and a 2:20 second lap before AMS President Ed Clark brought down the checkered flag. Operating a speed camera near the start/finish line, AMS Communications Manager Micah Lillard confirmed the Speedster in fact got up to 43 mph on the final stretch.

The Millers’ prized car is one of only two of its kind still known to exist, and the only one to still be driving, the other having been placed on static display at a museum in Connecticut. They’ve had their copy close to 30 years.

Friday’s running of the Speedster was a promotion for this weekend’s Atlanta Motorama, which runs Saturday and Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Speedster will be on display there inside the Million Dollar Salon along with other priceless vehicles. More than 1,000 other show cars are expected to be on display and performing throughout the weekend, as well as monster trucks, go-karts, and motorcross motorcycles.

Asked if the Millers’ Speedster is in car shows often, Drena said, “We don’t do a lot of shows. We tour.” In other words, why park a perfectly good 1909 Stevens-Duryea Torpedo Speedster when you can drive it? And drive it they do.

The Millers say they enjoy taking the car, which is the oldest continuously-running car in the State of Georgia, all over the country.

“We like to tour out West better than anywhere else,” Jack said. “You turn out of the parking lot and then drive 86 miles until your next turn.”

And when they’re not touring the States, they tour other countries. Yes, countries, not counties. The Millers ship the car to their destination and follow by air. Jack says their tours abroad have taken them to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales as well as Norway, Sweden and even New Zealand. Those are usually month-long tours, he says.

“You need to tour that long to make the money work out,” Jack said.

The Millers say these tours usually involve 20 or more other antique vehicles with their drivers. This weekend’s Motorama at Atlanta Motor Speedway, then, will be a change of pace for them, as theirs will be one of about 1,000 show cars inside the track.

Other highlights this weekend will include Big Foot monster truck demonstrations, freestyle motor cross stunts, musical concerts and more. Visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/motorama for more information on the 2016 Atlanta Motorama sponsored by Summit Racing Equipment.