Ryan Ellis

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Updated entry lists for Xfinity, Trucks at Iowa Speedway

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Xfinity and Truck Series teams will have the NASCAR stage to themselves this weekend when they make their first trip of the year to Iowa Speedway.

The Cup Series will enjoy its second off weekend of the year for Father’s Day.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for this weekend’s races at the .875-mile track, which will host a second Xfinity race in July.

Xfinity Series – Circuit City 250 (5:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1)

There are 39 entries for the race.

Former Richard Childress Racing driver Shane Lee will make his season debut with H2 Motorsports in the No. 28 Toyota.

Ryan Ellis will make his first start of the year in B.J. McLeod Motorsports’ No. 99 Toyota.

Joe Graf, Jr. is entered in his second race in RCR’s No. 21 Chevrolet. Graf failed to qualify for last weekend’s race at Michigan.

Ronnie Bassett Jr. is now entered in DGM Racing’s No. 90 Chevrolet, replacing Alex Labbe.

Justin Allgaier won this race last year, beating Christopher Bell and Daniel Hemric. Bell won the July race last year over Allgaier and Kyle Benjamin.

Click here for the entry list.

Truck Series – M&M’s 200 (8:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

There are 33 trucks entered in the race, which is the second in the three race “Triple Truck Challenge.”

One truck will not qualify for the race.

Ross Chastain is entered in the No. 44 Chevrolet for Niece Motorsports. Kyle Benjamin is entered in the team’s No. 45 Chevrolet.

Riley Herbst is entered is Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 46 Toyota for his second start of the year.

After Greg Biffle‘s win at Texas Motor Speedway, ARCA driver Chandler Smith is entered in KBM’s No. 51 Toyota for his first career Truck start.

Tyler Ankrum is now entered in NEMCO Motorsports’ No. 87 truck, replacing Joe Nemechek.

Reaume Brothers Racing’s No. 32 Truck with Daniel Sasnett is no longer entered.

Brett Moffitt won this race last year over Harrison Burton and Noah Gragson.

Click here for the entry list.

Ryan Ellis to run two Xfinity races

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Ryan Ellis, who has competed in 77 NASCAR national series races since 2012, announced he will run in two Xfinity races this season with B.J. McLeod Motorsports.

Ellis will run at Iowa Speedway (June 16) and at Road America (Aug. 24). Ellis finished 17th at Road America last year for B.J. McLeod Motorsports.

Ellis will partner with country music group, the Wes Cook Band. The band’s song, “I Stand for the Flag,” will serve as inspiration for a design on the No. 99 that Ellis will drive.

I am thrilled to represent not only the Wes Cook Band, but also this song, Ellis said.

To be able to work with all of these great partners and have Enlisted Nine, Audio Video Specialists, Top Cover and Nine Line Apparel join us is huge. I would not have this opportunity without them, and I appreciate them coming on board and cant wait to race with B.J. McLeod and his group again this season.”

NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis meets Ryan Ellis, hockey player

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Every once in a while you meet someone with a really unique name.

Then there’s the race occasion you meet someone whose name is little bit like yours, except for a different letter or two or the way you pronounce it.

Then, there’s the even rarer occasion where you run across a person with the exact same name as you.

That’s the situation driver Ryan Ellis found himself in Tuesday at a Nashville Predators game against the Minnesota Wild. The veteran of 74 NASCAR races was in attendance at the NHL game to watch another Ryan Ellis, a Predators’ defenceman and a veteran of six seasons.

“I grew up playing hockey just as long as I’ve been racing, so to meet someone who I’ve watched in World Juniors and all that, to see him out there playing, it was really cool to meet the guy who I keep getting angry tweets about,” NASCAR’s Ellis told the Predator’s website.

A native of Ashburn, Virginia, auto racing’s Ryan Ellis grew up a fan of the local Washington Capitals.

“Nashville is probably the coolest venue of any rink I’ve been to,” he continued. “I’ve been to games up in Pittsburgh, Washington, Dallas this year, Carolina last week, and I’m going to Detroit in a few weeks, but the environment here was really cool. I didn’t think of it as a hockey town [before], but the crowd was super into it. I had a few friends with me, who had never been to a game before, and they kept saying how stoked the crowd was. It was really cool to see the live music and everything.”

Ellis competed in four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2016, with three of them for BK Racing.

He started 16 Xfinity Series races, with a majority of them for Obaika Racing. His best finish was 15th at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Joey Logano on attending child’s funeral: ‘It tore my heart out’

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AVONDALE, Ariz. — Joey Logano was humbled this week after attending the funeral for a 5-year-old NASCAR fan who died from juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.

Jake Leatherman died Nov. 1.

Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Ellis and crew members from the teams of Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Logano and others were there at the request of Leatherman’s mother, Crystal.

She asked a TV anchor in Charlotte, North Carolina, who previously had featured Leatherman if the anchor knew of anyone in NASCAR who could attend the service in uniform and carry her son’s casket.

“I want to give my son the sendoff he deserves,” Crystal Leatherman wrote. “He recently got into NASCAR and absolutely loves Richard Petty. He loved calling him ‘The King’. But Jake loves a lot of the other cars as well. The Lowe’s car. The M&M’s U.S.A. car. Lots of cars. He loved them all. I was wondering if you knew anyone who would be willing to come in uniform and help carry my baby?”

Logano heard about the request from his wife last weekend while at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I walked into the bus after qualifying on Friday night, and she was inside crying,’’ Logano said of wife Brittany. “She had just watched the video and told me about him and how he was a big race fan and I thought it would be cool if we could do something for his funeral.’’

Logano, who wore his firesuit to the service, and his wife brought a race suit with Leatherman’s name on it. Because the child was a fan of Richard Petty, they put a No. 43 on the uniform.

“The whole racing community got into this,’’ Logano said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. “It wasn’t just Brittany and myself. It was one of the most real moments, one of the proudest moments I have been a part of in this NASCAR community. To come together as one team and be NASCAR as a whole for a child who looked at us as superheroes. That is how his family members described what he thought of NASCAR.

“We all came together and were all there for him, but we didn’t get to meet him and give him his race suit and how cool he would have thought that was. To see all his heroes and pit crew members there that day would have been very special.

“I have never been to a funeral for a child before. That is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was definitely eye-opening and it puts life into perspective. I don’t have a kid yet but I can’t even imagine – watching his mom and dad and sister and grandparents all there it tore my heart out.”

Watch is a video report from the Charlotte TV station on the service.

NASCAR teams, drivers attend funeral of 5-year-old fan

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On Wednesday, multiple NASCAR teams and drivers rallied around the family of 5-year-old NASCAR fan who passed away from juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.

Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Ellis and the teams of Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Logano and others gathered at a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend the funeral of Jake Leatherman, who died on Nov. 1.

The presence of so many members of the NASCAR community was the result Leatherman’s mother, Crystal, asking WBTV anchor Molly Grantham if she knew of anyone in NASCAR who could attend the funeral in uniform and carry her son’s casket.

“I want to give my son the sendoff he deserves,” Crystal Leatherman wrote. “He recently got into NASCAR and absolutely loves Richard Petty. He loved calling him ‘The King’. But Jake loves a lot of the other cars as well. The Lowe’s car. The M&M’s U.S.A. car. Lots of cars. He loved them all. I was wondering if you knew anyone who would be willing to come in uniform and help carry my baby?”

You can watch a short video from the funeral at Grantham’s Facebook page.