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Race day fun at NHMS turns into health scare for couple

  • Workers pick up the pylons inside the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Monday, July 23, 2018 after the Foxwoods 301 race on Sunday. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Jessica and John Miller of Taunton, Mass., were the only campers left in lot 7 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Monday, July 23, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Jessica Miller holds her husband, John, close Monday after their weekend dehydration scare at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. John spent the weekend at Concord Hospital after nearly passing out in the stands before the Lakes Region 200 race on Saturday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Monday, July 23, 2018

John Miller has never let being blind stop him from the NASCAR experience. But this year, dehydration kept him away on race day.

   Amid the cleanup from Sunday’s NASCAR race in Loudon, out in tent camping lot 7, one car and one tent remained. After all the other campers had departed, Jessica and John Miller waited as their charcoal grill heated up to make some burgers before their trip home to Taunton, Mass.

Remnants of what was supposed to be another weekend of racing fun away from their two small children littered the area. John, 38, still wore the bracelet he got during his stay at Concord Hospital. A piece of tape stuck to his arm revealed where an IV tube gave him fluids after he needed help Saturday. Their tent was reduced to a soggy mess after the rainy weather on Sunday.

Jessica hung close to her husband, leaning against him as he talked on his cell phone.

Their ordeal started on Saturday afternoon before the Lakes Region 200 race. The Millers took the shuttle from their campsite to the track and John recalled feeling dizzy, but kept it to himself. By the time they got to their seats in the stands, they said, John was having trouble walking.

“I don’t know how I made it up the stairs,” he said. He finally confided in his wife that he wasn’t feeling right.

At first, Jessica was incredulous, knowing how much her husband loved the experience of racing. When visiting smaller tracks, John would tell Jessica that a certain race car wasn’t up to snuff just by listening to the rhythm of the engines.

“I couldn’t believe how he could tell and then, he was right, the car wouldn’t finish,” Jessica said in wonderment.

Sitting in the hot sun Saturday, John said, he felt like he was going to pass out. Finally, he told Jessica to call an ambulance.

As they wheeled him out of the stands, the race started.

“At least I could hear it in the parking lot,” John quipped.

With a heart rate at 160 and elevated blood pressure – symptoms of severe dehydration – Miller was transported to Concord Hospital.

John spent the next two days at the hospital getting treatment for dehydration and medicine for his blood pressure. The Millers had to enjoy the race on television. Jessica was not going to leave her husband’s side.

On Monday, they leaned against their car after John’s release from the hospital. Jessica held her husband even closer.

“He’s too young to be doing this to me,” with her voice quivering.

“I just want to go home and see my kids,” said John.