Chris Miko, the second transport driver for Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Matt Kenseth, hadn’t even heard of NASCAR before a golden opportunity came his way to attend a Sprint Cup Series event. It proved to be the path to a new career.
“I saw my first NASCAR race in 1997 at Pocono Raceway,” Miko said. “I was living in New York at the time and I went with a bunch of friends. We actually were in a bowling league and we got some free tickets to the race. I’ve been hooked on NASCAR ever since. It was a July race I believe and it was exciting but a really long race.”
Circumstances seemingly led Miko to NASCAR like a magnet. Every way he turned, there was a sign that becoming a member of a NASCAR team was the right move for him.
“In 2000, a company I worked for owned some NASCAR simulators,” Miko said. “I traveled around opening up stores. I moved here to Charlotte and a lady’s husband that worked with me drove a race hauler. I wanted to get involved in racing, so I started helping him clean it out. The next thing I know I’m with a race team.
“I went to work with Atkin Motorsports in Concord, N.C. I packed all that I owned and people thought I was crazy doing it but within four months, I got a job with a team. I’ve been doing this for almost 16 years now.”
Miko has also worked with Atkins Motorsports, CJM Racing, Red Horse Racing and Roush-Fenway Racing before joining Joe Gibbs Racing in early July.
“My job is to restock chemicals, engines, spare parts and whatever is needed for a race weekend,” Miko said. “I enjoy driving and being on the road. You can stop when you want to. I do miss being away from home, but we do get some home time. When you’re on the road, it’s just you and the highway.”
FACT: Miko is currently learning to play a banjo so he can join in when other Cup transport drivers bring out their guitars at hotels.
QUOTE: “I thought it was pretty cool watching race cars go around for the very first time. So the first time I had a chance to see a race car up close I knew racing was what I wanted to do as a career.”
EXTRA LAPS WITH MIKO
HOMETOWN: Bronx, N.Y.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT: Disney Word
FAVORITE SEASON: Winter
FAVORITE HOLIDAY: Christmas
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Walking Dead
FAVORITE MOVIE: Captain America
FAVORITE MUSIC: Rock and Bluegrass