Two-time Hickory Motor Speedway champion Ryan Millington crossed off an important item on his bucket list in the 100-lap Late Model Stock feature of Saturday’s Bobby Isaac Memorial
An early pass on polesitter and defending race winner Sam Butler was enough for Millington to set his own pace and cruise to the checkered flag relatively uncontested.
Millington had wanted to win the prestigious event at Hickory since beginning his Late Model Stock career and was thrilled to finally have a car strong enough to accomplish that goal.
“We had a really good car,” Millington said. “I felt like everyone was running a little bit hard early and I didn’t like that, so I just decided to get out front early. Once I did that, I worked around the track and found where I wanted to run.”
With the victory on Saturday, Millington joins an elite list of drivers that have visited victory lane in the Bobby Isaac Memorial, which includes defending NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champion Josh Berry and JR Motorsports development driver Sam Mayer.
Millington’s efficiency throughout the evening left Butler and fellow track veteran Mitch Walker to battle each other for second. The fight continued all the way to the checkered flag with Walker narrowly holding on to the spot.
Walker admitted that he did not have a car strong enough to chase down Millington but applauded Butler for racing him clean during the closing stages of the feature.
“That was some hard racing,” Walker said. “We were going at it pretty good and I ended up second, which is kind of where I live these days. I can’t complain too much about second because things could be a whole lot worse.”
Millington now has eight victories on the 2021 season at Hickory but he is not expected to contend for his third track championship after missing a handful of races earlier in the year
Rookie Josh Kossek held a 414 point advantage over Millington in the Hickory Late Model Stock standings entering Saturday’s feature and is likely to maintain that lead despite having no more races scheduled at the track this year.
Although a title is no longer feasible, Millington intends to finish out the weekly schedule at Hickory on a high note once he is done celebrating his dominating win in the Bobby Isaac Memorial.
“I never even got to run that hard,” Millington said. “We were expecting another caution to come out but I just can’t thank everyone that works on this car enough. We’ve had some tough luck in this race over the past couple of years and we pulled it off tonight.”
Now that he has a Bobby Isaac Memorial victory on his resume, Millington is turning his attention towards claiming another Hickory crown jewel victory for the first time in the season-ending Fall Brawl on Oct. 16.
1. Ryan Millington
2. Mitch Walker
3. Sam Butler
4. Isabella Robusto
5. Magnum Tate
6. Lavar Scott
7. Annabeth Barnes-Crum
8. Chase Janes
9. Travis Truett
10. Joe Valento
11. Whitney Meggs
12. Jessica Cann
13. Mike Darne