NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Brandon Miller claims first championship in Right Trailers Top Sportsman class

Brandon Miller admits that he tried to make his dad cry in his championship speech. He may or may not have been successful at that, but it is reasonable to expect that a few tears may have been shed as he stood on stage after securing the 2023 Right Trailers Top Sportsman world title.  
14 Dec 2023
Kelly Wade
2023 NHRA world champion
Brandon Miller

Brandon Miller admits that he tried to make his dad cry in his championship speech. The Northeast Division standout may or may not have been successful at that, but it is reasonable to expect that a few tears may have been shed by Dave and Becki Miller as they watched their 20-year-old son stand on stage after securing the 2023 Right Trailers Top Sportsman world title.  

Racing is something that the Canterbury, Conn.-based family has always done together, and this season, the family theme resonated loudly as the ’00 Chevrolet S-10 that the younger Miller drove to a remarkable five wins in seven final rounds is the same race car that his father built in 2011 and wheeled to victory in Top Sportsman at the 2013 Sony/PCRichard.com National Open at New England Dragway.  

“It’s really special to win the championship with the same truck a decade later, and winning a national title, nothing really compares to it,” said Miller, who kicked off his racing career in NHRA’s Jr. Drag Racing League before he hit double digits and has since procured an assortment of achievements, ranging from JEGS Allstars titles and back-to-back Division 1 championships in Top Dragster before securing both the division and world Top Sportsman championships this time around.  

“I’ve always just wanted to race, and I never really thought about a world championship – but I guess you could say anything is possible,” Miller continued. “I never would have thought it would come this soon; it’s just an unreal feeling.”  

Miller, near lane, started the season on the right foot with a final-round victory over Ron Riegel at Cecil County Dragway’s Division 1 opener. 

Miller found himself committed to running for the world title after winning his first three Top Sportsman races of the season in the six-second S-10 – including Division 1 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events at Cecil County Dragway and Maple Grove Raceway and the NHRA four-wide race in Charlotte.  

Although much of his previous success came in Top Dragster, Miller’s focus on Top Sportsman this year proved fruitful and was complemented by further steps into the world of Pro Stock in a Roy Johnson-powered Dodge Dart previously owned by Dave and Deric Kramer. Miller made his debut in the Pro class at Maple Grove Raceway in 2022 and competed in both Top Sportsman and Pro Stock at the spring race in Charlotte.  

After the strong start, Miller, near lane, kept momentum rolling with a win in Charlotte at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals over Michael Scott. Miller claimed three wins in a row with a win at the Maple Grove division race just a few weeks later. 

“Racing Pro Stock made the year better, because I wouldn’t have even gone to the first Charlotte race without that,” he said. “But it was a little overwhelming at times because I became more and more serious about Pro Stock. It takes a lot of mental capability to do both. That was probably the most challenging thing this year, keeping my mental focus. I felt like I was falling apart a little bit at the end of the season with the pressure of leading and wanting to stay in the front. Just being able to drive decent was tough.” 

The fall national event in Charlotte was particularly challenging, and Miller began to think he had lost his shot at the championship when he faltered at the Tree and lost in the third round. Sunday night at zMAX Dragway, he was down – but fellow racers and previous world champions John Labbous Jr. and Joe Santangelo encouraged him to go to Virginia Motorsports Park the following week and reignite his hot streak.  

“It was a good pep talk, and they got me back on the mental track,” said Miller. “My driving wasn’t the greatest in Virginia, but I was able to win it and found a small problem with the truck that made me realize I wasn’t the whole problem. Once that was fixed, I felt better and drove better.”  

When Miller set the win light flashing in the final at the Division 2 closer at Rockingham Dragway, he locked in a score of 655 points that would prove insurmountable and land the multi-category standout his first world title.  

After claiming the trophy in Virginia, Miller moved on to Dallas for the JEGS Allstars, where he picked up a second consecutive Top Dragster title and was runner-up in the Allstars in Top Sportsman. He bowed out in the first round, however, in the main event and opted to move along to Rockingham Dragway’s Division 2 closer. There, Miller ended his season with a fifth and final victory on the season. It was a waiting game, after that, to see if the big trophy would be his. 

Bryan Warr was in second place at the time, but he would have to win big in Las Vegas and at the NHRA Finals in order to pass him for the series title. The Miller family gathered around the live feed to watch from home. 

“I just had to sit back and watch and hope the cards continued to fall in my favor,” said Miller. “Bryan is a really good friend – I borrowed his dragster last year to win the Division 1 championship – and I was thinking he could make it interesting. Unfortunately, he lost first round at the Vegas race, and it was over then. It was a little anticlimactic, but it was still unbelievable to be able to win the championship.”  

In the new year, Miller plans to increase his focus on Pro Stock and compete in possibly five to six races with the family’s Dodge Dart, but he loves the Top Dragster and Top Sportsman classes and hopes to get to race in both categories as much as possible in the near and distant future. Mom Becki will also continue to compete in Top Dragster – she finished just outside of the Division 1 Top 10 this year – and Dad Dave will most likely stay on the outside of the cars to keep their race program running strong and smooth.  

“It was a great year,” said Miller, who thanked his family, including parents Dave and Becki, as well as Miller Motorsports & Autobody, K&H Construction, Gen-Y Hitch, and Joey Guns. “It’ll be hard to top this year, but I just want to keep going, Sportsman racing and running Pro Stock. Really, I’ll be happy with anything, as long as I’m racing.” 

2023 TRACK RECORD, 655 points

Cecil County Dragway (Div. 1)


Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals


Maple Grove Raceway (Div. 1)


Maple Grove Raceway (Div. 1)


NHRA New England Nationals


NHRA Carolina Nationals


Virginia Motorsports Park (Div. 1)


Rockingham Dragway (Div. 2)


This article originally appeared in the Year in Review issue of National Dragster.