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August 29, 2019 - Milliken eyes I-95 title with four races to go
Even in the midst of what he calls a “rollercoaster” season, Willie Milliken is having a championship-caliber year. (Joseph Swann photo)

The Roanoke Rapids racer is second in the FUEL racing series points, and he’s tied for fourth in the I-95 Late Model Challenge Series standings entering a weekend twinbill at Fayetteville Motor Speedway and County Line Raceway.

“I didn’t think I was going to get in a points battle this year and now I’m in two of them,” Milliken said.

This weekend, he will be trying to gain significant ground on I-95 points leader Michael Batten of Rocky Mount, who has amassed 116 points through five races. Matthew Bissette of Middlesex is second at 99, Michael Rouse of Wilson is third at 97, and Milliken shares fourth with Gray’s Creek’s Shaun Harrell at 95. 

“To catch Michael (Batten) and those other guys, we’re going to have to have some good luck on our side,” said Milliken, a three-time victor in FUEL action this year. “Right now, we just need to get the luck on our side. We’ve got the car and the team to win with and a car owner (Mason Price) that gives me what I need, but we need some luck.”

The rollercoaster-like I-95 results for Milliken show a seventh, third, 15th, second and eighth. The eighth came two weeks ago at Halifax County Motor Speedway when he was the fast qualifier, then got entangled in a wreck that also involved the second-, third- and fourth-place drivers. 

Milliken’s worst finish, the 15th, also came at Halifax on June 15 when he spun after tangling with Batten.

“We were racing for the lead and I got underneath him,” Milliken said. “He was trying to miss a lapped car, we touched and I got sideways. I knew it wasn’t anything intentional because Michael’s a helluva racer. So I spun and went to the rear. Then I had to spin to avoid a couple of more wrecks, and they put me to the rear instead of giving me back my position liked they were supposed to because I spun to avoid” contact.

After this weekend’s doubleheader, the only remaining I-95 races will be Sept. 21 at Fayetteville and Oct. 18-19 at County Line. 

“It’s going to be tight, but I feel good about these next four races,” Milliken said. “I think we should be in the hunt for it. It’s going to come down to the wire.”

“I think Fayetteville’s my best bet at winning, but I won the FUEL race at County Line,” he added, “so I think I can win these next two if I can just get a little bit of luck with me. I feel like I’ve got as good a car as anybody, I just need some luck on my side.”

Other classes in action at Fayetteville on Friday night will be Diet Mountain Dew Modified, Sportsman, SportModz, Renegades and Legends. The Renegades race is the first in a five-race ‘Blitz’ series paying $500 to win at each event and $500 to the series points winner.

Hot laps at the 4/10ths-mile dirt track, located of Doc Bennett Road near Fayetteville Regional Airport, begin at 7:30 p.m.