By Ryan Reed, NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver
It’s a home game, or race, this weekend for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. There’s something to be said for being able to sleep in your own bed before the race and I’m really looking forward to being able to do that this weekend. There’s so much going on in the Charlotte area because of the back-to-back race weekends. Just for our team we have Fan Day at Roush Fenway, the Charlotte Speed Street Festival with Lilly Diabetes and American Diabetes Association, and a special paint scheme that honors veterans and brings awareness to the one in four who live with diabetes. It’s really cool to see how the area embraces having the races in our backyard. This weekend also draws in a ton of friends, family and partners so there’s extra pressure to do well at Charlotte with all of our guests watching.
I really like the day race at Charlotte because there’s less grip with the sun hitting the track. You really slide around a lot more, which makes for some great racing. I watched the 600 last weekend and it seems like the track is really aging well. That should make for some really exciting racing this weekend for us XFINITY guys. Our No. 16 team hasn’t had a finish outside of the top 15 here, so hopefully this will be the week our luck turns around after a rough couple of weeks.
The last time we were on track was Dover a couple weeks ago. We got damage early, which made for a disappointing race. Then we had a whole off week to sit around and wait for redemption. During the off weekend, I ran my first 5K race near my house in Huntersville. The 5K is actually organized by Jimmie Johnson and it brings out a ton of NASCAR drivers, crews and people in the industry. I finished 70th overall and third in my age group so I was pretty happy with that for my first attempt at racing a 5K.
After Charlotte, we will make history as the XFINITY Series races at Pocono Raceway for the first time. I raced there in the ARCA Racing Series twice in 2012 but I can’t imagine how much the track has changed since then. My teammate Bubba Wallace and I, along with some other XFINITY Series drivers, went up to Philadelphia last week to promote the race. It was really cool to see how excited everyone is about the XFINITY Series coming to Pocono, which also happens to be in Comcast’s backyard.
Before the XFINITY race, I will get a little extra seat time as I join Lira Motorsports for the ARCA race on Friday afternoon. We had a ton of success together last year, winning two out of our three races, and I’m excited to compete for their third win at Pocono. It would be awesome to win the XFINITY race there and lock ourselves into the Chase. Whenever you can be the “first” winner somewhere, that’s something people don’t forget.
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