From the Driver’s Seat with Ryan Reed: Carrying Momentum into Mid-Ohio

By Ryan Reed, NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver

Hey guys – sorry it’s been a couple of weeks since I have given an update! This summer stretch is really tough on the schedule! It’s been a really solid couple of weeks for our team. We are coming off back-to-back top-10 finishes at Iowa and Watkins Glen. I can’t stress enough how awesome my team is and how much perseverance pays off. I messed up in qualifying at the Glen, flat spotting the tires during my qualifying lap. We had to change tires after qualifying, which sent us to the back of the field for the start of the race. My crew chief, Phil Gould, made awesome calls to get track position back and my pit crew killed it on pit road. Our car was really fast, which allowed me to drive to a ninth-place finish after a rough start to the weekend.

These great finishes really help your confidence heading into Mid-Ohio this weekend. It’s another road course, which means unpredictability. We saw in the race this past weekend that road course races are starting to resemble short-track races. Guys are fighting for position so hard and not giving any room, leading to a lot of wrecks. It’s a crap shoot for the drivers at times, but the fans seem to enjoy the excitement so as long as you’re on the good end of the deal I guess it works. Roush Fenway has a winning history at Mid-Ohio and there’s no reason we can’t contend for a win this weekend.

I flew out to Ohio this past Monday to stay for the week because my girlfriend is from the area. We had a great time at the Blink 182 concert earlier in the week and it was fun to have some down time during this hectic summer stretch of racing. I’m looking forward to doing something special for my team this weekend for all of their hard work. We plan to grill out at the track after the garage closes on Thursday to celebrate our success the past couple of weeks. I will also be celebrating my birthday this weekend, so a successful weekend on-track would really mean a lot to me.

I also want to send my thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of fellow racer, Bryan Clauson, who lost his life this week. It’s so unfortunate that this is something we have to deal with in our sport, but we all know it’s a real possibility. Still – that doesn’t make it any easier. My teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was really close with him, so we are all really thinking of him during this time too.

Tragedies like the loss of Bryan and Dale Jr.’s effects from a recent concussion really put things into perspective for all of us drivers. While we love what we do, there’s always the possibility something can go wrong. No matter how tough of a day we had on the track, I stay grateful that I can continue doing what I love for a living.

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Ryan is the driver of the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. A winner at Daytona International Speedway in 2015, Ryan also is a native from Bakersfield, CA and a former Legends Division Track Champion at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. Diagnosed in 2011 with type 1 diabetes, Ryan is leading the charge in the Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign.

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