STATESVILLE, N.C. — official team release by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Tom Baker photo —
After two weeks off due to a rainout and the subsequent CARS Tour invasion of Hickory Motor Speedway, 14-year-old Ryan Millington is eagerly anticipating his return to racing action in the Late Model Stock Car (LMSC) division during Saturday’s “Whelen Night” program at the historic 0.363-mile North Carolina short track.
Millington, from nearby Statesville, North Carolina, enters the May 14 show as the leader in both the track’s season-long LMSC points standings and the 10-race Paramount Kia Challenge mini-series points standings, a remarkable accomplishment for the rising star considering he is in his first year in the highly competitive class.
“It’s been fun, and I guess a little bit of a surprise as well,” Millington said when asked about his thoughts on leading the Hickory and Paramount Kia points so soon into his career at the track. “We’ve been able to do a really good job of bringing fast race cars to the race track and making every opportunity count, and I feel like that’s been a key to where we’re at right now. Between everything I’m learning from Christian (PaHud, crew chief) and the races we’ve run this year, I feel like we keep making strides and that’s what you have to do to keep running strong.”
With Saturday’s 100-lap race serving as round four of 10 in the Paramount Kia Challenge mini-series, the personable teenager knows it’s time to continue his early season statement into the heart of the season if he hopes to maintain his standing at the top of the heap.
“We can’t rest on the (season-opening) win and the runs we’ve had up to now … we have to keep building,” he added. “If we don’t push forward, everyone else will catch up and we can be back in points just like we’re up in points now. All it takes is one bad race, so we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and it should all work out alright.”
Following his run at Hickory on Saturday, Millington will also be prepping for his return to the dirt, as he has finalized plans to compete in the third-annual Speed51 Open for mini-outlaw karts at the fast, one-sixth mile oval in Salisbury, North Carolina.
He finished fourth in last year’s outlaw kart spectacular at Millbridge, then dubbed the SPEED SPORT Challenge, during the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder leading into Memorial Day weekend. This year’s event is slated for May 25.
“It’s going to be fun getting back on the dirt and giving another go at the Speed51 Open this year. Last year, it had a different name, but we made the feature and finished fourth after fighting with some really big names. I was able to hold off Kyle Larson for second for almost a third of the race, so I feel like this year if we come back with the same focus that we did in 2015 there’s no reason to believe we can’t run up front and challenge for the win again.”
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.