CONCORD, NC :: Payton Ryan went on a hot streak in the summer, scoring two wins at Myrtle Beach Speedway and following that up with a victory at Motor Mile Speedway by edging Lee Pulliam in a classic photofinish.  Since then, Ryan’s hit a slump, one he’s hoping to turn around in Sunday’s Autumn Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park.

Ryan, 16, was hoping to make a name for himself in the MDCU 300 at Martinsville Speedway last month, racing for Jamie Yelton and Fat Head Racing, but was forced to sit out the race when he got sick.  Having raced at Southern National this year, he feels this weekend is an opportunity to breakthrough.

“I think we can win the race,” Ryan stated.  “It’s a matter of, if we have the car as good as we need it.  That’s been our struggle at Southern National a couple times.  We started the year off hot at Southern National and just haven’t gotten back to our stroke after the summer and when things cooled off.  Hopefully we can come back and have a strong run. I feel like the longer run, saving tires, when everyone’s worn out at the end and seeing who has it, that’s my type of race.”

The Autumn Classic isn’t the only big race remaining for Ryan either.  He’s also looking ahead to Myrtle Beach Speedway, the site of the rookie’s first and second career wins, and the Myrtle Beach 400.

“We ran the prelude to Myrtle Beach.  Me and [David Garo, Jr.] both struggled.  That was a little disappointing but we’ve been good there this year so I’m kind of excited.”

Prior to racing Late Models, Ryan raced in Legends.  Ryan originally hails from Jonesville, Louisiana but moved to Concord five years ago to chase his dream of being a professional race car driver.

“When I moved to Concord five years ago, that’s when everything got serious about racing.  We moved there because of racing.  It’s pretty much where you have to be.  There isn’t much in Louisiana.  If this is what I’m going to do, and I hope it is, I have to be in North Carolina.”

As of now, Ryan intends to compete for Fat Heat Racing again in 2015.