Road America is one of America’s premier race tracks, with massive amounts of horsepower bellowing through lush Wisconsin hills.
On Saturday one of our very own will be there, as RMNB reader Ryan Ellis takes to the circuit in the SS-Green Light Racing 07 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. It will be Ryan’s first race of the season. He will be turning both left and right, sponsored by Superlite Cars and Bachtel Excavating. You can see it all on NBC at 3 PM on Sunday.
“I’m probably more excited for this race than just about other race in my career,” Ellis said. “I almost didn’t even’t have time to get excited because it all came together so quickly.”
Ryan will be wearing a helmet featuring a Deadguins sticker — a nod to the Capitals’ hated rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The bucket is also signed by Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who is retiring after this season.
Breaking out the ol’ Deadguins lid for this weekend! pic.twitter.com/0jWWCLpBRv
— Ryan Ellis (@ryanellisracing) August 23, 2017
The last few years, Ryan has bounced around in the sport. Nevertheless, he landed good gigs driving part-time in the top-level Monster Energy Cup Series in 2015 and 2016. Ellis is no stranger to the Xfinity Series, one step below Cup, making 45 career starts in the series, his most recent coming this past November. He also raced in a RMNB-sponsored car that competed last year at Dover International Speedway.
This is an exciting opportunity for Ryan, who was planning to take some time off from racing to serve as GO FAS Racing’s marketing and PR guru, a subject Ellis studied at George Mason University. The team’s 32 car is driven by Ellis’s best friend Matt DiBenedetto, who has had an impressive season which earned him a contract extension with the team. The Cup Series has this week off, giving Ryan the freedom to race.
Mr. DiBurrito, as Matt is known since no one can spell his last name correctly, released a humorous statement regarding Ellis since their roles are now reversed.
— Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) August 22, 2017
I wrote up a press release for my PR person, Ryan Ellis since he has written so many for me this year.
BREAKING: The roles have been reversed and this weekend my PR girl Ryan Ellis will be the steering wheel holder driving the #07 Supernate Cars/Bachtel Excavating, Inc. Chevy at Road American in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and I will attempt to be his PR girl from the couch.
Although Ryan hasn’t competed in any races this year, he has had plenty of practice driving me around everywhere in our rental vehicles and to my appearances on our Can-Am each race weekend. Every bit of that extreme driving he has had to do for me this year has all included left AND right turns so I expect his skills to be very sharp and ready for him to have a strong run this Sunday at the 90000 mile road course in wherever Road America is located, WI.
DiBenedetto said, “He was driving me around in Michigan and almost backed into a crowd of people so good luck to everyone in the Xfinity Series, they’ll need it.”
About Supernate Cars (in my words):
“Supernate Cars is actually a really cool company that builds REALLY high-end cars. I got to meet the owner Fran in Michigan earlier this year. He’s one of the coolest people I’ve met and I’m not quite sure why he’s friends with Ryan – he’s even going to be in his wedding this offseason. He races sidecars and has driven some really crazy cars, I’m not quite sure how he is still alive.”
About Bechtel Excavating (in my words):
“Ryan has told me most of what I know about them. It’s really cool that they helped him out and gave him a chance to race this weekend, and took him out of North Carolina so I can finally spend a weekend without him. I know they sponsored him last year at Mid Ohio and had a really good run so hopefully they can do that again.”
On a serious note, we’ll all be watching and good luck Ryan and the SS Green Light Racing/superlite Cars Bechtel Excavating, Inc. team!
DiBenedetto and Ellis previously combined to create a low-budget, Happy Gilmore-inspired ad for Dick Stevens Jerky, a company that had never sponsored a NASCAR team, but came onboard the 32 car this season. The video went viral in NASCAR circles.
— Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) July 26, 2017
Ryan is no stranger to road racing. In fact, he was the primary driver for Superlite Cars, which has a racing team of their own, between 2011-2014. His skills will come in handy against drivers trained on ovals, especially with a forecast that predicts a wet afternoon.
“Rain is an equalizer for equipment which benefits a small team like us,” Ellis said.
“I just can’t wait to get to the track,” he concluded.
Here’s the official release from SS-Go Green Racing and Ellis:
Ryan Ellis will be joining SS-Green Light Racing this weekend driving the #07 Superlite Cars/Bachtel Excavating Chevy at Road America. This will be Ryan’s 46th start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and 75th NASCAR start. Ellis, who came from a road course racing background, will be making his first Xfinity start of the season.
“I think a lot of people forget that I have done a ton of road racing in the past between NASA/SCCA/Grand-Am and my experience with Superlite Cars. Once I entered this sport mostly full-time I think I just got tagged as another NASCAR driver, but I still consider myself a road course guy. I’ve raced Road America many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to get behind the wheel of a racecar. I can’t thank Bobby Dotter enough for giving me this opportunity on our off-week, we’re going to do all we can to get a good run and keep the car in one-piece. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my great friends and sponsors at Superlite Cars and Bachtel Excavating.”
Ryan was the primary driver for Superlite Cars from 2011-2014 and worked at their shop back in 2012 as well. Since meeting Fran Hall, the owner of Superlite Cars in 2011, Ryan and Fran have become great friends. Fran is even a groomsmen at Ryan’s wedding later this year and has supported Ryan and his racing many times. Ellis said, “Fran is basically family to me. He’s been so important to my racing career and has been instrumental in getting me to where I am in this sport. I called him for a lot of advice over the offseason before taking the Public Relations position at Go Fas, and I’m so lucky to have someone like him on my side.”
Bachtel Excavating first sponsored Ryan at Mid Ohio last year, where the Rick Ware Racing team and Ryan brought home an 18th place finish for the new sponsor. Ellis said, “I got the opportunity to meet Matt Bachtel and some of the other guys from Bachtel Excavating last year at Mid Ohio. They’re such a great group of people and it was so much fun giving them an introduction to NASCAR sponsorship. I’m very proud that he has come back on board with us and helped me get another great shot at a good finish this weekend. It means a lot to me that they are willing to help us out this weekend, because I know it is a good distance away from their Ohio headquarters. Hopefully I will get to see Matt and his group very soon.”
The Johnsonville 180 will take place this Sunday at 3pm EST and will be aired LIVE on NBC, the Motor Racing Network, and on the NBC Sports App.
Here’s an early look at the car Ellis will be driving, sans sponsorship decals.
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