Photo: Roush Fenway Racing

From the Driver’s Seat with Ryan Reed: Hard Times in Racing Similar to Diabetes

By Ryan Reed, NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver

This is my third year in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and I would have to say this is the toughest start to a racing season I have ever had. We started Pocono off with radio issues, eventually blew a tire and ended up with a destroyed race car before the halfway point in the race.  The stats show we have an 18th– place average finish for the season. We have had numerous part failures and just bad luck so far, but are hanging on to 10th in points.  It’s unfortunate that these stats and race recaps do not represent how much progress we have made as a team. It may be hard to see from the outside, but no one on our team is giving up.

Racing, just like life, can be pretty unfair at times. It’s especially tough to swallow when you know you have everything you need to go finish in the top 10. But, just like when I was diagnosed with diabetes, the only options are to either quit or put our heads down and go show what we can get it done.

After Pocono, I started reflecting on the past couple of seasons and how grateful I am to be in the car after being told I would never race with diabetes. If you think about it, the tough times we have had on-track really aren’t that different than what people, like me, with diabetes go through every day. You can do everything right to prepare the car – take it to the wind tunnel, have the right people in place, and even show fast practice times – but then still have a bad race or something not go right. The same goes for diabetes.  I can plan out my meals perfectly, account for how much insulin I will need to stay on task, but still some days my blood glucose numbers are not where they should be. While the meticulous preparation is key to both racing and diabetes, sometimes things just happen that are out of your control. Both situations are as equally frustrating, but when you know you and your support system (my race team and my diabetes pit crew) are giving it their all to get where you should be, it helps drive you forward.

There is always going to be some sort of challenge in front of you and I feel the bigger the challenge, the more rewarding it is when you succeed. We go out there every week and give 100 percent and by the end of the year I know we will be proud of what we have accomplished.

I’m really looking forward to Michigan this weekend and think it’s a perfect opportunity to rebound. We have had very strong race cars there in the past. Not to mention Michigan is such a special place to Ford and Jack Roush, so a strong run there would mean a lot to the whole race team.

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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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