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Pennzoil Extends Rebelle Rally Relationship: Q&A with Founder Emily Miller

Pennzoil Extends Rebelle Rally Relationship: Q&A with Founder Emily Miller

In a testament to its unwavering commitment to championing bold spirits and extraordinary escapades, Pennzoil proudly announces its second consecutive year of sponsorship for the Rebelle Rally – the ultimate female-driven competition.

Building on the momentum of the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube, Rebelle Rally Founder Emily Miller engaged in an exclusive conversation with Pennzoil. This discussion delved into Miller’s rich background in motorsports. It shed light on the continued partnership between Pennzoil and the Rebelle Rally, solidifying their shared passion for daring adventures on the road.

PENNZOIL: What or who inspired you to get behind the wheel?

MILLER: Rod Hall, off-road racing legend, afforded me the opportunity to drive for him, initially by teaching me and then entrusting me with the driver’s seat in his race cars. I learned a lot from him and am forever grateful for the experience. In terms of the “what,” the constant reinforcement from my parents to look for open doors and windows and not be afraid to jump through them was also instrumental.

PENNZOIL: Do you have any distinct childhood memories of driving?

MILLER: I have several memories, but one that stands out the most is my father’s passion for cars. He would regularly talk to me about different types and models of cars, including their designs. One of the funniest memories of my father is when I learned to drive a stick shift in high school by sneaking out of the house and trying to get out of first gear in our driveway. I got caught because I woke up my neighbors!

PENNZOIL: What sparked the idea for creating Rebelle Rally, and what was your vision for it when you first started?

MILLER: My goal was to create a world-class event and competition in the United States that had the feel of a multi-day international rally but was different from any other type of event. Drawing from my background as a competitor and a professional in event promotion and production, I launched the Rebelle Rally.

Being able to craft our vision and discern what we wanted and didn’t want was based on a lot of “mileage” over the years. While there were some great rallies globally, we wanted ours to be unique, starting with a challenging and fair competition on some of the most iconic and epic terrain that exists right here in the United States. Our vision extended beyond just a race; we wanted it to be the type of extreme challenge that garnered respect and provided a badge of honor for making it to the finish line.

PENNZOIL: What’s the biggest takeaway you hope people get from participating in Rebelle Rally and Rebelle U?

MILLER: One of the biggest takeaways is the love of our incredible backcountry and the places and adventures our cars can take us. It’s the realization that the vehicles in our driveways, not just specialty vehicles and racing cars, are much more capable than we think! Above all, YOU CAN DO IT! You can learn these driving and navigational skills that will change your life.

PENNZOIL: If you could choose any member of Team Penske as your partner in a rally, who would you pick and why?

MILLER: While I am a Joey Logano fan, my passion is driving, and a rally requires two people in the car. I wouldn’t want to decide who gets to drive with someone like Joey so that I would choose one of the Team Penske crew members. Team Penske is known for great pit crews, often the unsung heroes of great race results. They know how to be the best prepared for their job and be great team members. Internally, we always say that our goal as an organization is “to be a Team Penske Pit Crew,” which is possible when people work together for a long time!

However, if I were to choose a teammate for our organization, I would select Roger Penske. Everyone who knows me understands I have the utmost respect for his leadership and long- time experience. He has built successful, enduring businesses and brands, and I believe you should surround yourself with great people and the best mentors. Simply having his insight and guidance would be a lifelong dream.

PENNZOIL: What’s the most unexpected skill participants must master to participate in the Rebelle Rally?

MILLER: Patience, a sense of humor, and the ability to put aside their ego.

PENNZOIL: What other interests or passions do you pursue outside of racing?

MILLER: Snowboarding, skiing, surfing, and cycling. I have a lot of interests, hobbies, and sports that I love. I find my life most fulfilling when I engage in one sport each day!

PENNZOIL: If you could build a dream off-road vehicle for the Rebelle Rally, what features would it have?

MILLER: Excellent, simple, bolt-on aftermarket suspension and torque! While it’s smaller than most people might expect, it would be for the purpose of being nimble and agile. I would also like top-quality, off-road tires, robust yet lightweight skid plates, and killer lighting that gives a depth of field, not the dreaded “light curtain” effect.

PENNZOIL: Looking back at your journey, what advice would you give to women interested in participating in the Rebelle Rally or pursuing motorsports?

MILLER: Start somewhere and jump in! Life is one lap, and you only have this one chance, so if you want it, start somewhere. Search for the best coaching and mentorship. If you want to be average, train with average. But if you want to be great, train and learn from the best!

PENNZOIL: What does having a brand like Pennzoil behind the rally mean to the organization?

MILLER: We dedicate ourselves to ensuring that the rally is accessible to participants and working with Pennzoil, we can make this happen. What often goes unnoticed behind a product are the individuals involved. The team at Pennzoil is exceptional, approaching the Rebelle Rally with a genuine commitment to our mission and actively helping us reach our goals.

PENNZOIL: Alex Taylor, a drag racer and co-host of MotorTrend’s “Hot Rod Garage,” and her sister Megan competed on behalf of Pennzoil at this past year’s rally. What was your experience with them, and how do you think they did in their first attempt at a rally?

MILLER: Their performance was outstanding and impressed our whole staff and audience! What truly stood out to me was how professional and strategic they were with the knowledge they possessed. They embraced the challenge of mastering a new discipline in off-road racing while integrating their honed skills from other racing disciplines and building on their experiences. They are a great team – working with family can be unpredictable, but they served as true role models, treating each other and their roles with respect. I’ve said multiple times that if these young women are motorsports’ future (and present), then the future is very bright!

PENNZOIL: How do you hope to influence and shape the future of female involvement in motorsports?

MILLER: There are two key components. First, it’s about providing women with ample seat time in competition and training. Regardless of gender, people require significant “seat time” in any sport to excel. Women are great competitors as drivers and navigators, and the more seat time they have, the greater their performance will be.

Secondly, the Rebelle Rally demands and develops a lot of grit. It values hard work, determination, effective communication, and problem-solving abilities. Through consecutive days of challenges and experiences, it also provides tremendous opportunities for women in motorsports. This has a lasting positive impact on participants’ lives and careers and will also contribute to the advancement of motorsports, automotive, and related industries.

PENNZOIL: As you enter the second year with Pennzoil, what significance does the Long May We Drive campaign hold for you?

MILLER: At first glance, the campaign is a reminder to recognize and take care of the very piece of performance equipment that empowers us to pursue our endeavors – our cars. For us, Long May We Drive is a metaphor for life, adventure, exploration, freedom, and learning – this is the essence of the Rebelle Rally. Long May We Drive is our mantra.

To learn more about Rebelle Rally, check out Alex Taylor’s recap video of the 2023 Rebelle Rally, and Rebelle Rally’s Dead Reckoning series. Stay updated for the latest updates on Pennzoil’s collaboration with Rebelle Rally by following X and Instagram!

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