By Ryan Reed, NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver
It’s hard to believe we are entering the ninth race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season this weekend at Talladega. At this point in the season, I feel like we’ve seen what each team’s strengths and weaknesses are on each kind of track we visit, aside from the road courses. I think at Roush Fenway we have really made strides in our 1.5-mile program, but still have some work to do on the short tracks. I think we are definitely making gains all over, but 1.5-mile tracks are the bulk of our schedule so that’s good news.
Personally, our No. 16 team has just continued to find bad luck over the past couple of weeks. In Bristol, we broke a wheel while we were running in the top 10. In Richmond, we had very little practice time because of weather and just couldn’t find the balance we needed then got involved in a wreck that started at the front of the field. I will take an 11th-place finish, though, even with a beat-up race car.
Fortunately, super speedways are a place Roush always has speed and I have found some success. I have only raced at Talladega twice and have been caught up in “the big one” both times, while running in the top 10. In my first race there, I actually led 29 laps. A lot of people think that Daytona and Talladega are interchangeable, but I think it’s important to note how different the racing has been between the two.
At Talladega, I notice that drivers are a little less patient when it comes to passing and using all lanes of the race track. Everyone kind of waits for something to happen in Daytona, but at Talladega it just seems like everyone is moving all over the place at all times. It makes for a great race for the fans, but definitely makes driving in that pack unpredictable. I feel good about our chances to bring home a win this weekend. I have spent a lot of time in the shop over the past couple of weeks and our Talladega cars look great. I’m not worried about bringing speed, but we do need to find some good luck.
Off the track, I continue to do a lot of road and mountain biking with friends. I’m really lucky to live somewhere that has such great places to ride and that my friends enjoy the same activities as I do.
Coming up, I’m heading to California for Mother’s Day to spend some time with my family. While I’m out there, I will also have a check-up with my endocrinologist to talk about my diabetes management and make sure I’m on the right track there. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people with diabetes, or anyone really, to work with their doctors to find the right treatment methods and get tips for managing your health. Be sure to join the conversation on social media using #IDriveMyHealth for your chance to be a part of my paint scheme at Phoenix International Raceway in November.
Image: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images