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NASCAR driver Ellis visits $25,000 event in Daytona Beach, Fla.

January 27, 2014 10:06 AM
NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis (second from right) poses with players Louisa Chirico, Nicole Melichar and Allie Kiick at the $25,000 event in Daytona Beach, Fla.
(l to r) Teodora Mircic, Nicole Melichar, Ryan Ellis, Allie Will and Asia Muhammad at the coin toss ceremony before the start of the women's doubles final.

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

Ryan Ellis, who drives for FDNY Racing and the No. 28 Chevy Silverado for the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) campaign, took time away from the race track to enjoy some tennis last week at the Daytona Beach $25,000 Women's Tennis Tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Ellis stopped by the USTA Pro Circuit women's event early in the tournament to meet some of the players, sign autographs for fans and watch some world-class tennis. He came back again Sunday to perform the official coin toss prior to the singles and doubles finals.

"It's been an honor to be out here, and it's been really cool to meet all the other young athletes," Ellis said of his two visits to the $25,000 Daytona Beach tournament. "We can all relate to our dedication to the sport and whatnot. But it's an honor to meet all these guys and to get to know that they're kind of going through the same things that I am, in terms of upping their professionalism and making it in a tough sport.

"I have a lot of respect for tennis players. I personally stink at tennis, but I'd love to go out and hit around with them and invite them out to the go-cart track, and kind of have a little playoff round. But I know I'd get my butt kicked here. I'm just really excited to be around the Circuit and to be around you all."

In Sunday's finals, top seed Anna Tatishvili of Georgia captured the singles title by defeating fourth-seeded American Allie Kiick, 6-1, 6-3, while No. 3 seeds Nicole Melichar of the U.S. and Teodora Mircic of Serbia took home the doubles championship with a thrilling 6-7(5), 7-6(1), [10-1] win over top-seeded Americans Asia Muhammad and Allie Will.

Ellis plans to compete in select NCWTS events, including the Series' first race on Feb. 21 at Daytona International Raceway. The FDNY Race Team, led by veteran NASCAR owner Jim Rosenblum, was formed in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy as a way to honor first responders and a means to help support their families.

Ellis began competing part time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012, making the commitment in late 2013 to pursue his lifelong dream to become a full-time NASCAR driver. He is well on his way down that path for 2014, competing in both the NCWTS with FDNY Racing, as well as the Nationwide Series for a yet-to-be-announced team.



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