When Ryan was four years old, he began competing in quarter midgets at the local Hagerstown Speedway’s dirt oval. He then went on to a stellar 7-year career in Quarter Midgets, becoming Virginia's all- time QMA leader and the one of the most successful open-wheel racers in the state. A threat in QMA National competition since his debut, Ryan was soon on the lookout for his next conquest.
Entering the Legends scene at the tender age of 12, Ryan achieved great National success campaigning the popular and powerful little open wheel INEX Legends Cars. Winning Young Lion and Semi Pro titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004, Ellis toured the nation in 2005 as a member of INEX’s elite Legends Pro division, capturing the 2005 Virginia State Pro Championship and finishing 4th in the National Pro Series.
Between 2006 and 2010, Ryan competed in everything from NASA Spec Miata’s, where he finished 2nd in the drivers championship and was voted Driver of the Year, to the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series where he was the winningest driver in 2010 and also held many track records on the Volkswagen-factory supported Discovery Channel documentary show.
In 2011, Ryan made his Grand-Am Rookie debut with APR Motorsport by breaking the Daytona Speedway track record and led every lap en route to his first ever victory in the series. He went on to collect one more win that season and finished third in the drivers championship while also collecting the ST division – Rookie of the Year. Ryan continued to race Grand-Am in 2012 and 2013 while also being hired as the lead development driver of the Superlite Cars program where he won a National Championship in the car’s first year in competition.
Ryan made his NASCAR Nationwide debut in 2012 in the Jimmy Means Chevrolet, making the field at Road America. In 2013, he also got a call to try and qualify the #52 into the field at the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ debut at Mid Ohio, and was able to qualify the #52 in 31st place, after the car was unable to make the field in many previous races. This caught the eye of SR2 Motorsports who gave Ryan his oval debut at Richmond International Speedway just a few races later, and Ryan finished the 2013 season qualifying for every race he attempted. In 2014, Ryan became the driver for FDNY Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series by being the fastest truck in practice his first time ever in a truck. He was able to achieve three top-20 finishes which is very admirable considering the team is part-time and all volunteer based on a low budget. He also ran two Nationwide races finishing 24th and 28th at Richmond and Las Vegas Motor Speedway respectively. He also qualified for Landon Cassill and JD Motorsports at Mid Ohio qualifying 15th, one of the best qualifying efforts the team has ever had. In 2015, Ryan will continue to be the driver for FDNY Racing, hopes to run part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, race with MAKE Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and also make his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut.