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Racer Profile: Joe Millikan
An Opinion

June 16, 2007
By Allen Madding

Allen Madding

Joe Millikan was born April 30, 1950. Growing up he developed a passion for cars and stock car racing. He made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut in 1974 driving Buddy Arrington’s No. 67 J.R. Stanley Trucking Plymouth in the American 500 at Rockingham where he qualified 29th and finished 17th.

In 1979, Millikan got the phone call he had waited for his whole life.

L.G. DeWitt signed him to drive his No. 72 Chevrolet and Oldsmobiles for the entire 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup season with sponsorship from Hayes Jewelers and Appliance Wheels. Millikan rose to the occasion recording a sixth place finish in the season opener, the Winston Western 500 at Riverside, California. He then finished second in the Carolina 500 at Rockingham. Another sixth place finish followed in the Richmond 400 and then fifth place finishes at Martinsville and Talladega.

He qualified on the pole for the Sun-Drop Music City USA 420 at Nashville, where he led 31 laps but finished 23rd after an engine failure on lap 124. More sixth place finishes followed at Pocono, Michigan, and Bristol and another fifth place finish at Dover. Millikan added a third place finish in the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville to finish his rookie season with one pole, five top-5's, and 20 top-10s. He finished sixth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship points and was runner-up in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year competition to Dale Earnhardt.

Millikan returned to Winston Cup Series competition in 1980 with high hopes behind the wheel of DeWitt’s No. 72. He finished fourth at Riverside, sixth at Bristol, seventh at Darlington, tenth at North Wilkesboro, and fifth at Martinsville before being released by DeWitt. Millikan sat idle looking for a ride until landing a deal to end the season driving the No. 75 Chevrolet for RahMoc Enterprises. A crash eliminated him from competition in their first outing together at Rockingham, and an engine failure put him out at Atlanta. Millikan managed a seventh place finish in the season’s final event, the Los Angeles Times 500 at Ontario, California.

Millikan returned to RahMoc for the 1981 season. He recorded five top-10 finishes in the No. 75 before he and RahMoc parted company. He landed the opportunity to drive Cliff Stewart’s No. 5 Performance Connection Pontiac beginning with the Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan. He recorded an eighth place finish at Richmond, a fifth at Martinsville, a third at North Wilkesboro, and another fifth place finish at Riverside. He ended the season with three top-5 and ten top-10 finishes.

Millikan returned to the Winston Cup Series in 1982 driving Stewart’s No. 55 Pontiac. A crash in the Daytona 500 relegated him to a disappointing 40th place finish. He rallied back at Richmond with a sixth place showing which he duplicated at Rockingham, but after a 16th place finish at Darlington and the second of two engine failures, Stewart and Millikan split up. Millikan drove James Hylton’s No. 48 Palatine Auto Parts Pontiac at Darlington and Billy Mathew’s No. 41 at Rockingham. He ended the year with two top-10 finshes.

In 1983, Millikan made only one NASCAR Winston Cup race driving the No. 35 Ford at North Wilkesboro finishing 18th. He drove Elmo Langley’s No. 64 Sunny King Ford and Honda sponsored Ford at Rockingham in 1984 finishing 17th and Billy Hagan’s Piedmont Airlines No. 1 Chevrolet at Riverside but experienced and engine failure and finished 38th. In 1986, Millikan returned to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for what would be his last season in Cup Series competition driving Wayne Behr’s No. 37 Ford at North Wilkesboro and Rockingham, but mechanical woes eliminated him from both events.

Millikan reappeared in the NASCAR ranks in 1988 competing in the NASCAR Busch Series driving the Thomas Brothers Country Hams No. 0 and No. 00 Oldsmobiles in five events. His best outing was a eighth place finish in the Advanced Auto 150 at Martinsville.

Joe Millikan is presently employed by Roush Racing where he serves as a transport driver.

On Jan 31, 2007, Millikan was injured in an accident in Sierra Blanca, TX while a passenger in the Roush Racing transporter for the No. 6 team. He was listed in the intensive care unit in Thomason Hospital, in Thomason, TX following the accident, eventually improving and being released to return home.

Discuss this and other racing matters in the Prodigys@Speed Forum

You can contact Allen Madding at .. Insider Racing News

The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.

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