Raceway Chaplains Mark and Amanda Miller
I was born in Newport News and raised in Richmond, Virginia by two wonderful parents that are still married today. They set a great example for my sister and I and they have always been a positive influence in my life. They really set the foundation that I could build the rest of my life on. Their stability allowed me to take some chances throughout my life and my career that I may not have otherwise been able to do.
A good example of that was in my junior year of high school when I was selected to be an exchange student. I left my comfortable, middle class life in the United States to live in Hamburg, Germany for about 3 months, working as a draftsman for a major manufacturing company. In those 3 months I was transformed from a spoiled teenager to a responsible (okay, somewhat responsible) young man. I must have matured 10 years in those 3 months. Following that experience, I went on to Virginia Tech and graduated with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering.
After working for several major manufacturing companies throughout the Southeast, including some time in Mexico on the movie set of the “Titanic”, I achieved all of my career goals in my early 30’s as an Operation’s Manager for Piper Aircraft company managing more than 20 departments and 400 people. So here I was, in my early 30’s, I had great parents, a great wife, a great son, good health, and I just accomplished all of my career goals, it was a story book life….but something was missing. It seemed like the more I accomplished in life, the less I enjoyed it. I didn’t celebrate the accomplishments, I just immediately moved on to the next goal. There just had to be more to life than that.
I read the book “Racing to Win” by Joe Gibbs and I saw a tremendously successful man give all of the glory to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I also had the influence of my wife and several close friends that had transformed their lives through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so I set out on a journey of my own. I read the Bible cover to cover, started studying and reaching out to the Lord and as the Bible says, you draw nigh unto Him and He will draw nigh unto you. I then committed my life to Christ and have never looked back.
I have always had a passion for racing. I’m not sure where it came from as neither of my parents care too much about it, but something about the speed and precision of driving just really appealed to me. I missed a couple of opportunities as a teenager to get involved in racing but in college I worked one weekend as a corner worker for a motorcycle roadracing event at Summit Point and I was hooked. I obtained my roadracing license shortly thereafter and started racing my old Yamaha FZ600. I quickly moved up and raced several GSXR 750’s before giving it up for my family in the mid 1990’s. In 2007 I obtained my SCCA auto racing license and with the help of my friend Larry Jordano, I raced his BMW 325 for a few races. In 2008 I was blessed with the opportunity to purchase a 1997 Van Diemen F2000 and raced my first full season. I won 6 of my first 8 races, won the Florida region championship, and finished second in the Southeast points championship (SARRC). Not too bad for a "rookie". All the glory goes to God.
Another passion of mine is working with children. While my son was growing up, I was blessed with the opportunity to be a tribal Chief in his YMCA Indian Guides program for a number of years and as he grew I was able to coach his youth football and basketball teams. My wife and I then took a giant leap and became foster parents. In the last 5 years, we have taken care of nearly 30 children of all ages, races, and backgrounds. What a tremendous blessing this has been to our family and to the children. It is certainly not the easiest thing we have ever done, but it sure has been one of the most rewarding. God rewarded that sacrifice by giving us two wonderful daughters of our own.
My wife and I first met Stephen Zoeller at the 2004 Rolex 24 hour Sports Car race in Daytona. With the cars whizzing by in the background, Stephen began to share his testimony and as he talked I felt the Lord working inside of me. Having a passion for the Lord, a passion for racing, and a passion for working with children, it was just a match made in heaven. Over the next several months, my wife and I volunteered at many local roadracing events helping Stephen and his wonderful wife Stephanie out wherever we could. Stephen then took me under his wing, the relationship evolved into a mentoring program, and then on to a partner in the ministry. It is not a path that I ever thought would be possible, but I have learned that when God opens a door, you need to be ready to walk through it. All I can say is that God is a great God. When I look back at all of the events that transpired in my life even before I knew Him, He was preparing me for things to come. As the saying goes, "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called". All of the glory goes to God.
In 2008 following the will of God, I became an ordained minister and founded SERRMON with my lovely wife, Amanda.