By Dustin Albino
Over the offseason, Jesse Little, Matt Mills, Stefan Parsons and Mason Massey have all announced they’d be running for BJ McLeod Motorsports in some capacity during the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. So, too, will Vinnie Miller.
Miller, 23, has ran the majority of the past two seasons with BJMM, placing a career-high 23rd in the 2019 championship standings. Last season, he competed in 28 of 33 events, scoring four top-15 results.
Miller will return to the seat for at least three races in 2021 to pilot the No. 99 car, two of which will be at Dover International Speedway (May 15) and Bristol Motor Speedway (Sept. 17). The third race is yet to be determined, though was originally set to be Auto Club Speedway before it was taken off the 2021 schedule last month.
"I know I’ve got three for sure, and I’m working on securing some sponsorship," Miller told Jayski.com. "I’m hoping to do at least 10 this year if I can find the money and get in a seat."
Miller recalled a conversation with team owner B.J. McLeod late last season where the two sides made a deal. If Miller sat out some of the races towards the end of the season — including two road courses, which he’s not a fan of — he would get to run additional events in 2021.
But dating back to his childhood days in Michigan, Miller noted he’s been racing something nearly every weekend since he was four years old. To not be in the car on a full-time basis will be an adjustment for him.
"It’s more frustrating knowing I’m not going to be able to drive some sort of racecar every weekend," Miller said. "That’s going to take some getting used to, and it’s going to be hard. The way I’m looking at it is, take that extra time I have off and sit down at the desk at my house and try to sell sponsorship. Try to sell, sell, sell."
As of now, Miller has room to sell sponsors for all three of his races behind the wheel in 2021. And even though he’s not running full time this upcoming season, he believes it will be easier to sell sponsorship once fans and sponsors are allowed back inside the racetracks and set up activation displays.
Compared to years past, Miller said he sends somewhere between 10 and 20 emails every morning, Monday through Friday. Of those sent emails, he’s fortunate if he gets one to two responses.
"I think I’m going to be able to find sponsorship eventually for at least a part-time season for years to come," Miller added. "Do I ever think I’ll be able to get a full ride strictly off of sponsorship? Possibly. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy either."
But even if Miller can’t be in the car on a consistent basis, he hopes to be around the BJMM team in some capacity.
"I’ll probably be around anytime they need an extra guy to go to the track or they need help," Miller said. "I’ll probably be going to help spot or help catch tires, just do something to help out."
With a much more sparse schedule from years past, Miller intends have a different mindset in the races he’s able to run.
"I will be eager to get into the seat and get some laps," he stated. "I think it’s going to change my driving style from calm and relaxed in the car to I’m going to want to be more aggressive and just go for it."