Young Ridgeway dragster makes PDRA Pro Junior debut

RIDGEWAY – Drag racer Danika Miles, 13, has graduated from the ranks of the Pro Drag Racing Association (PDRA) Top Jr. Dragster Division into the PDRA Pro Jr. Dragster division.

Danika Miles

This means she will be racing a full second faster with a top speed of 85mph in 7.90 seconds. This also means the dynamic within the team changes as qualifying will now fall on the shoulders of Danika’s dad and crew chief, Gabe Miles.

“The Pro Jr. Division is full of the best drivers in the junior dragster world which means Danika and I have to be on our game, both in tuning and driving skill,” Gabe Miles said.

With the new Division comes new rules for qualifying. In the Top Jr. Dragster Division, Danica was responsible for qualifying based on her reaction time at the starting line whereas now she is required to run an elapsed time as close to 7.90 as possible (without going faster than 7.90) to go on to compete in the Top 16.

“I like having less responsibility to qualify because I know I can count on my dad to get us in the race and it allows me to relax and focus on my job of bringing home the wins,” Danika said.

And winning is what she does best.

Danika has qualified for every race she’s tried for in her two-year racing career, Gabe Miles said.

But winning is expensive and Danika is looking for more sponsors to cover some of those costs of competing on the circuit.

“We blew up two motors in the last week,” Gabe Miles said. “One at a race up in Kentucky, and then she went over to test the new motor at Darlington last week and blew that one up. At $5,000 each, it’s costly. I’m driving to Washington, D.C. tonight to pick up another one.”

Danika will be competing in a PDRA race every month in 2021. The races are broadcast live pay per view.  Having competed in two so far this year, she has shown she is capable of winning top awards. The first race of the season was in Benson, NC at the GALOT Motorsports Park where she qualified and placed in the Top 8. Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky hosted the second PDRA race where she grabbed another quarter final finish.

Between races, she works on her reaction times with a computer simulator.

Besides her racing schedule, Danika and her car are also invited to make appearances at non-racing events where she answers questions and signs autographs.

The PDRA season will take her up and down the East Coast, including Ohio and Maryland. Because of her extensive racing schedule, Danika is now home schooled. She said she is grateful for these racing opportunities – “a dream come true” – that are made possible by local and national sponsors.

Danika also races in several charity events each year to help raise money for good causes. But every race, big or small now requires a 4-5 member pit crew and a driver for the 40-foot hauler for Danika’s car.

Bearing flashy photos of Danika, the hauler is an attention-grabber, Gabe Miles said.

“If you see us on the road, give us a honk!” he said.

 Danika’s sponsors include Blown Away Salon, Keith Craig,  Spud, Inc, Dr. Gregory Wych and his team at The Art of Dentistry, The Red Shirt Roof Guys, Brown’s Tire & Auto, Kristin Coaches Fitness for Sport & Life, Miles Garage & Towing and Miles Custom Paint & Body.  Anyone wishing to advertise on Danika’s car, hauler or equipment, can contact Gabe Miles at 803-309-4321 or go to www.milescustomracing.com.

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