STATESVILLE, N.C. — official team release by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Sherri Stearns photo —
Ryan Millington notched his sixth consecutive top five finish at Hickory Motor Speedway during Saturday night’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 84 Lumber Night program, further extending the 14-year-old’s strong start to his 2016 season.
Millington, from Statesville, North Carolina finished second in the 100-lap Late Model Stock Car main event after an attempted final charge for the win came up just short.
“Honestly, we waited too long before pushing what we had to get through the field,” Millington admitted. “Christian (PaHud, spotter) told me to go with about 20 laps left and it just wasn’t quite enough time to get where we needed to get to. The car was really good, though … it was handling pretty well all night and I was overall pretty comfortable with it, so it was a good day — just not a winning day.”
“I want to thank my family, my team and TAO TAO, USA for everything they do to help us on and off the track. We got another top five finish — that’s six in a row this season at Hickory for us — so that’s a great run and we’re glad it’s still going. We’ll go back to the shop and see what we can do to make it one spot better for the next race.”
The young standout began the night by qualifying third, and started inside the top five before dropping back to sixth to conserve his equipment. After PaHud gave Millington the cue to “go for it”, however, he quickly began trying to dice his way forward as the second half of the race clicked on.
Millington would get held up racing at the back end of the top five, sparring with Zachary Dabbs for nearly 40 laps before finding his way past and into contention late in the race. After leaders Matt Piercy and Dexter Canipe Jr. tangled in the closing stages, it opened the door for eventual winner Kate Dallenbach and Millington to slip through the chaos … the latter simply ran out of laps to make his planned race-winning move.
“If I had been able to work past (Dabbs) earlier than I got him, I think we’d have had a better shot at contending for the win. He just kept pinching me down and that made it really difficult to get the runs I needed in order to get past with the way our car was handling. All in all though, it wasn’t a bad race and we’ll take another second place finish. We want another win though, and I think it’s coming soon.”
The runner-up effort moves Millington into the lead of both the Hickory Motor Speedway Late Model division points standings and the Paramount Kia Challenge Series points standings, breaking the tie he had with Canipe for the top spot in the 10-race mini series.
Millington’s next scheduled race will be at Hickory this Saturday, April 30, for round four of the 10-race Paramount Kia Challenge Series. He won the mini-series’ opening race back on March 5 for his first-career HMS victory.
If all goes according to plan in that event, Millington will then attempt the Late Model Stock Car portion of the CARS Tour Hickory Soup Kitchen Race to End Hunger 250 at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 7.
About Ryan Millington
Ryan Millington is an accomplished 14-year-old racer from Statesville, North Carolina. Growing up in a family with a background and love for the sport, Ryan has already been a winner on both dirt and pavement, competing in several different types of cars.
Millington has won over 80 races in go-karts on dirt and has also won on INEX legends cars on pavement. In 2015, Ryan had legends car wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Anderson Motor Speedway, and scored a mini-outlaw win at Millbridge Speedway on the dirt.
The personable teenager has also had a pole and several strong finishes to date in the Millington Motorsports No. 17 late model stock car. 2016 will find Ryan and the team concentrating on building their late model program out of their shop in Statesville, N.C.