An Inside Look At Cody and Hunter Miller’s Can-Am Maverick X3s
Story And Photos By: Brandon Bunch
The Miller Brothers have been making waves in the UTV racing industry for several years now as they’ve gone from series to series dominating just about everywhere they’ve taken the green flag. Hunter and Cody have won all six rounds of the Texas Outlaw Series so far at TexPlex Park this year, so I took advantage of some free time to shoot these magical UTVs and ask them a few questions as to why they’re so darn good. I was hoping for both Miller brothers to answer these questions, but Hunter did the job solo as he’s the responsible one of the two…
USM: We’ll start off this Q&A with an easy question—who is the fastest Miller brother, and why?
Miller Bros: Ha! Flip a coin, but 90% of the time it’s going to land on Hunter..
USM: On a serious note, the success you guys have had in UTVs speaks for itself. Between the two of you, you guys have claimed the 2016, 2017, and 2018 GNCC UXC1 Pro Turbo Championships, the 2019 WORCS SXS Pro Championship (with a tie for 1st and 2nd in points), the 2020 King of the Hammers UTV race (with a 2nd in 2021) as well as the 2020 TexPlex UTV Series Championship, and now you guys have won every race so far in the Can-Am Texas Outlaw Series at TexPlex in 2021 against a stacked field of drivers.
Do you have a general idea of what has led you two to be so successful?
Miller Bros: It’s a huge combination of things. We have been racing for close to 30 years now. Basically our entire lives. That’s a lot of experience between the two of us. We have developed a pretty broad skill set from all of the different types of racing we have done over the years, which gives us the ability to go fast just about anywhere we go whether it’s desert, short course or cross country. One of the other major components to our success is the support from our sponsors. We believe in long term relationships and only working with companies who have products we truly believe in. Lastly, I really believe the amount of time we put into our prep sets us apart from most of the guys out there. We spend a lot of time making sure our equipment is in top shape.
USM: Driver skill aside, vehicle set-up (and reliability) obviously plays a huge role in a UTV racer’s performance. You guys clearly have the Can-Am Maverick X3 platform figured out now, but how long did it take you to find the weak points and build such bullet-proof cars?
Miller Bros: Of course there are always small issues when any new platform is released. That being said, the X3 is very solid straight out of the box. I would say 2017 was definitely a learning year, but after that the cars have been very tough. However, that also goes back to prep. We find the weak points fairly quickly when we begin racing a new platform and after every race those parts are removed, inspected, and replaced if we see any sign of fatigue.
USM: How different are these current short course cars compared to those that you ran in 2020?
Miller Bros: I wouldn’t say they are night and day different, but they certainly have some changes. Every time we build new cars, we try to improve. They have a little different design in the cages and body work to try and make them easier to work on as well as lower the center of gravity a little more. The main designer at S3 Powersports who builds our race chassis is Cody Taylor who is also a good friend of ours. He is Cody’s copilot at Hammers and was back in the GNCC days as well. We talk nearly every day about ways to improve our setup and we gradually get things better and better. When we do a new build, we implement all of these new small changes.
USM: We’ve noticed that you (Hunter) are running a 72-inch wide car, while Cody is running a 64-inch wide car… Is this due to driver preference? Or some other factor? What are the Pros and Cons for each?
Miller Bros: Last year, we did not have much testing time for Texplex. We started with the 72” cars, but couldn’t really get them to work like we wanted. We converted them to 64” and immediately felt like we were much faster. Coming into this season, we had been doing a lot of testing with Double E, Teixeira Tech, and Elka on our suspension package for Hammers. I felt like this front end would work really well for short course. We decided that one of us would stick with what we knew worked last year (Cody in the 64” car) and one would try to develop the 72” car. Honestly, they are both so good that it really comes down to driver preference. The 64” turns quicker while the 72” is more stable. The 72” is more forgiving and the 64” is way more edgy, but the 72” can feel a bit more sluggish through the corners.
USM: In addition to the track width difference, are the S3 Powersports chassis you guys are running different, or exactly the same between the two cars?
Miller Bros: The chassis themselves are 100% identical. Cody can bolt 72” Teixeira Tech parts on his and have an identical car to mine, or vice versa.
USM: George White from Double E Racing tunes your shocks, and we’ve had some experience working with him as well. He’s definitely very talented at what he does… How big of an asset is he in your race program?
Miller Bros: He is one of our biggest assets! We have worked with George for a lot of years now and he has a very good feel for what both Cody and I like in our setup. He has been around racing longer than I’ve been alive and we come from similar backgrounds in ATV racing. He is also at nearly every race we attend which makes it possible to fine tune our setup every single weekend based on changing track conditions. We certainly would not be where we are without him.
USM: The rules for short course racing at TexPlex are pretty loose in comparison to other series, and we’ve heard grumblings from other racers that they can’t touch the amount of power your Maverick X3’s are putting out… How much horsepower do your cars make, and what’s the secret to making the power, and making it reliable?
Miller Bros: It’s funny, a lot of people think you need big power to go fast at Texplex but that is definitely not the case. We run very basic power setups. The turbo, intake, injectors, clutches, etc are 100% stock 2021 X3s. The only difference from stock in our cars is an HMF exhaust and tuned ECU. Texplex is all about making grip. Your tire and suspension setup are far more important than big turbos and crazy power. Now all of that being said, the 2021 X3s are absolute monsters in stock form!
USM: Talking about racing at TexPlex, how much does your setup change from weekend to weekend? And how much does your setup change when traveling to other short course tracks?
Miller Bros: It’s minor. We have a very good base setup that we stick to. We may make a few changes on the sway bar, crossovers, and rebound/compression clickers, but we don’t get too far away from our baseline.
USM: If you guys had identical Maverick X3’s in terms of components, how different would the setup of the cars be for each of you due to driving style or other factors?
Miller Bros: I think they would be fairly close. I really like my cars to turn into corners very hard and have the rear end stick just as hard. I don’t like to throw my car sideways into corners and drift around like I’m in a Pro 4. Cody on the other hand, generally drives more aggressively than I do so his car tends to be a little stiffer.
USM: How much have these cars evolved since building dedicated short course cars?
Miller Bros: Not as much as you would think. The basic platform is the same as what we have always run. Throw on some different tires/wheels and shocks, I could easily take this car to an offroad race. Switch it over to a 64” car and it’s ready to line up at any XC race.
USM: What else makes these Maverick X3’s so special? Is there anything that goes on your UTVs no matter where you’re racing? (Good place to plug sponsors, haha)
Miller Bros: Our basic cars are always very similar. We use the same great components from all of our sponsors! @canamoffroad @texplexpark @texplex_racing @maxxistires @racelinewheels @elkasuspension @double_e_racing @s3powersports @teixeiratech @ssidecals @factory_utv @sparcousa @hessmotorsports @tireballs @tireballseast @louispowersports @kellerperformanceproducts @aimsportsdata @antigravitybatteries @dpbrakes @hmf.engineering @gatesgforce @warrantykillerperformance @warnindustries @renegadefuel @ppei_tuning @pit_viper @buttersupplyco @monster_seal @bajadesignsofficial @runbc
We have to give a big thanks to Hunter for taking the time to chat with us. It would have been nice to have Cody in the conversation, he must have just been too busy… Maybe he was out practicing or something, he has won most of the races this year after all!