Ryan Ellis took an unconventional road on his way to NASCAR’s major leagues but he has not forgotten where he came from.

Ellis, 25, now competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Make Motorsports and makes occasional appearances in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Ellis didn’t just make a series of left hand turns to get to NASCAR but he also turned right as well.

The Fairfax, Virginia native competed predominantly in Legends cars at Old Dominion Speedway in the early years of his career prior to moving up to Late Model Stock Cars and eventually into sports car racing.

“It was not a normal route,” Ellis said. “I don’t know if there is a normal route but I know mine is abnormal. When we were running, we kind of realized that we got as much out of Legends as we could. We were thinking it would be so pensiveness to compete for a national title. We moved on to Late Models then we realized Late Models are a money pit in terms of how much money you’re spending to compete and we don’t have that kind of money. We looked at Pro Cup, Grand-Am and got an opportunity in road racing to differentiate my self and pull myself away from the big money side in short tracks.”

Ellis’ big break came after he raced in the Volkswagen TDI Cup touring series when he got an opportunity to compete in what is now known as the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

“I ran some Grand-Am races and got an opportunity in the XFINITY Series and next thing I knoew, I’m a regular,” Ellis commented. “Don’t know how I transitioned from a start and park to having a regular ride in this series. I feel like I randomly appeared here one day. I assumed that I belonged here but I don’t think a lot of people know where I came from.”

Ellis was a regular threat when he raced in Legends cars at Old Dominion Speedway but. or Ellis, itf wasn’t just racing that was a passion or a hobby, but hockey as well. Ellis played hockey on his college team at George Mason University and also played hockey professionally for the Potomac Mavericks

“It was me and a couple other guys back then running Legends cars,” Ellis recalled. “I was going to school, had two jobs, was playing for two or three hockey teams. It was cool to race guys like CE Falk and Denny Hamlin. It was so cool to run Legends cars and they taught me so much, especially ODS. That was one of the coolest tracks I ever got to race at.”

While being in the spotlight in road racing helped Ellis move into NASCAR, his home will always be at Old Dominion Speedway – the 3/8 mile track in Manassas, Virginia that closed in September 2012.

“I miss everything about that place,” Ellis explained. “Guys like Dave Menefee, Edwin Pardue, they interviewed me when I was 11 years old. That was pretty crazy because that’s when I started running Legends. It was home for me. I got known as a legends guy. I consider it my home track. It sucks that it’s gone but I hope Dominion Raceway can take over the legacy for what it was but it was probably time for a change as well.”

Dominion Raceway, which is set to open next Spring, is under construction in Thornburg, Virginia.

Ellis has not forgotten his roots nor has he abandoned them. He says he would race on short tracks in Legends, Late Models or Super Late Models if the opportunity presented itself.

“My thing is just getting it funded,” Ellis remarked. “I was talking to [Southern National Motorsports Park owner] Mike Diaz because we raced Legends together. I talked to him about racing there at some point. The Snowball derby would be pretty cool. Any race. I’d like to do the Summer Shootout in a Legends car. I just want to drive. It’s all expensive, even a Legends car. I make less now than I did when I was working in college so I definitely can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket. I miss the short track stuff, I really do. That’s why I still do the Chili Bowl. I’d love to do some pavement stuff though.”

To date, Ryan Ellis’ best career finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a 16th place finish which he scored back in February at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.