The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

July 27, 2013

Former Indy all-stater can still take the hits —and walk away

Travis Mills could always take a hit.

A former all-state football player at Independence High School, the 6-foot, 200-pounder dished it out as good as he got it from linebackers trying to take his head off.

Friday night at Beckley Motorsports Park, Mills showed he could take an even bigger kind of a hit.

And walk away.

“I was running third, and we went into Turn 3 three-wide. I got into the loose dirt and went up the side of the mountain,” Mills said. “The car rolled over completely, twice.”

It was an unusually ugly accident at BMP. Fortunately, Mills wasn’t hurt. The car ended up on its wheels, and the 5-point harness belt did its job.

But it was scary.

“The only thing I was thinking about was catching on fire, and wanting to get out,” Mills said. “I jumped out of the car and was sitting on the hill before anybody got to me.”

Track officials got to him within seconds. An ambulance was quickly there, but it wasn’t needed.

The car didn’t fare as well.

“It’s torn all to pieces,” Mills said. “The rear end is junk. The body is torn up. We’ll have to do a lot of hard work, but we should be there again Friday.”

It wasn’t his first accident. While in high school, he had raced motocross and wrecked twice with no injuries.

Cars seemed worth a try.

“I figured they would be a little bit safer,” he said.

Mills had it rough at the outset of his rookie season, getting caught up in some fender-benders. He kept his head and continued learning about the car and the track.

“The first few weeks I was tearing up stuff and it really wasn’t my fault,” he said. “But I’ve had a couple of Top 5 finishes. It’s been pretty decent for my first year and my first car.”

He had a second-place finish a few weeks ago at Princeton, and last week he finished fifth in the feature race at BMP. He came into Friday night’s race fifth in the Street Stocks points.

When the race continued after the accident, Tyler Blankenship from Hanover took the checkered flag. Blankenship had been ranked sixth, 14 points behind Mills.  Beaver’s Hank Stover, previously third in the points standings, was runner-up. Second-place Robert Richardson from Alderson finished third.

Ironically, Mills was having a fine race.

“I was running good until that happened. It was the best I’d ever felt,” he recalled. “But I never let up on the turn. Once you get up in that loose stuff, there’s no letting up or turning around.

The accident hasn’t diminished his love for racing a bit.

“Lord, yeah! I’ll be back! My butt didn’t leave the seat,” Mills said. “It’s definitely safe enough to get back in and go again.

“I love racing. It’s something to look forward to through the week.”

But as good as racing is, he still misses football. In his biggest game, his senior year (2011-12) against Midland Trail, he ran for over 200 yards and three touchdowns.

Mills was offered a chance to play college ball, but decided college wasn’t for him. He currently works for the W.Va. Turnpike.

“After I started to work, I figured I needed something to do on the weekends, so I picked this up,” he said. “Maybe the more I race, the more I’ll love it,” he said. “But football is what I always wanted to do.”

Nevertheless, Thursday night Mills was in the garage until 2 a.m., working on the red and yellow No. 30.

With that kind of effort, no doubt he’ll have it back on the track Friday night.

— E-mail: dstillwell@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Other Sports
  • Herd staffer completes Boston Marathon

    As Travis Epling watched the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as they were unfolding, he couldn’t help feeling a connection.

    April 23, 2014

  • Beckleyan completes Boston Marathon

    Of the more than 32,000 people who ran in Monday’s Boston Marathon, 59 were from West Virginia.

    April 22, 2014

  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba VIDEO: Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014

  • McClung moving from mound to dugout

    Seth McClung was getting his daughters Madison and Fallon inside and ready for their baths when his phone rang. He’s said before that he enjoys the role of “daddy day care.”

    April 15, 2014

  • First stop Waffle House; next stop The Greenbrier

    Bubba Watson decided to keep his post-Masters victory more low key this year. Instead of going to New York for a media tour, he headed home to Orlando, Fla., and kept plans for a five-day vacation with his wife.

    April 15, 2014

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide