Born to race | Driver wins world championship at 13

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Monday, June 9, 2014

JACKSON, S.C. (WRDW)-- There are a lot of moving pieces to keep intact on a junior dragster car. What people see on the track is a product that is constantly a work in progress.

All of the tinkering and part replacing is what makes the Miles Racing team click. Particularly, Jackson-native and 17-year-old racer Shelby Miles.

Miles is a champion in the racing world with more checks and more titles than years on her birth certificate.

"When I was 13, I won my first title which was a Division two Junior Dragster World Championship," Miles said while doing everything she could to downplay her accomplishments.

Downplaying Miles' success is almost as tough as beating her on the drag strip. The Silver Bluff senior is one of the first drivers to claim two division two world championships, winning it all at the age of 13 and 15.

This success was almost expected. The Miles family is a racing family. Shelby was destined for success before she could walk.

From grandfather to father, racing runs in the blood of the Miles family. Jeff's dad, Jeff Miles Sr. bought the track in 1985 and it was passed down to Miles Jr. It's fair to say the "House of Hook" hooked Shelby on the sport.

"They taught me everything I know today. My grandpa started with it and my dad's just continued it. He's just been the perfect person for all of it," Shelby said.

"It's just evolved into what it is. It's been in our blood since as little as I can remember being," Jeff Miles Jr said.

Of course, Shelby got her first taste of racing at her dad's track. And, of course, it was under her dad's guidance when she was six years old.

"I was going so slow that my dad stood on the back of the car with me," Shelby said.

"I stood on the back of the car, laid on the top of the roll cage with my hand on the kill switch, in case she did anything crazy. She'd done perfectly fine," Jeff said, admitting he was scared for his safety in Shelby's inaugural drive.

With already 11 years in the sport, Miles expects to follow her passion into the pros.

"Of course, the wins are always better than the losses. It's the wins that make up for the losses. Even if I'm winning or I'm losing, I'm having fun and that's all that matters," Shelby said.

If racing doesn't work out, Shelby has a solid plan to fall back on. Entering her senior year of high school, Miles want to go to the University of South Carolina and then to law school.

Although, the plan is to use a law degree to fund her NHRA racing team.

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