By Ryan Reed, NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver
The last time I checked in we were entering Talladega weekend with high hopes and the need for some luck. Well, we definitely brought a really fast car and our confidence was not misplaced, but luck was not on our side. We made it to the front early in the race and fought for the lead for much of the first part of the race, leading eight laps in total. After we pitted with the cars on our pit cycle, we were running about 19th when we got spun, ending our chances for a win. The whole left-front of the car was destroyed and we limped home to a 31st-place finish.
I’m often asked how you deal with days like that – when things happen out of your control that ruin your day – and sometimes I wonder that myself after a string of bad luck. I think when I have one of those days, I just think about the bigger picture. Five years ago, I was told I wouldn’t be able to drive a racecar ever again when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Just to be out there and in contention for a win is something to celebrate, and that helps make those bad days not so terrible. I think the message here is that when you put things into perspective, they probably aren’t as bad as you think.
I had some time after Talladega to decompress. I flew out to California and spent Mother’s Day weekend at the beach with my family. They always help keep me grounded and remind me that those bad days will pass. After some relaxation, I’m ready to get back to the office. The extra prep time we had with a weekend off should translate into a lot of speed at Dover. Also, the Dash4Cash heat race format returns this weekend, which could get really interesting on a mile-long track. On the short tracks at Richmond and Bristol, we saw everyone play it safe during the heat races so they didn’t tear up their cars before the feature. Now that we will possibly be more spread out in those heat races, I can see guys make some more gutsy moves to put themselves in contention. Not to mention, time is running out to claim that $100,000 bonus.
With another off-weekend after Dover, I’m really able to concentrate on this race. Not to mention it’s really not fun going into an off-week with a bad finish (not that you ever want a bad finish), but having two weeks to sit and think about it before you get back on track really stinks. I think that along with Dover’s unique characteristics will cause some drivers to really push the envelope this weekend.
Hopefully we tame the Monster Mile and I will have something good to report after this weekend, but in the meantime keep the questions coming to @driverRyanReed on Twitter.
Image: NASCAR Media Group