From the driver’s seat with Ryan Reed: The start of my 2016 journey

By Ryan Reed, NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver

Hey guys, I’m excited to have you follow me this year as I compete for a title in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, but also to give you a glimpse into my preparation and life away from the race track. Being a racecar driver, I get to do some pretty cool things and I hope you will enjoy following my journey this season. If you have any ideas of things you want to hear about in the future, tweet me at @driverryanreed.

Let’s start off with Daytona – talk about pressure. Winning the race in 2015 brought on so many awesome experiences. I even got to travel to Vancouver in the offseason to shoot a commercial for XFINITY reenacting my win. Needless to say, I had high expectations for myself returning to Daytona as the defending winner. I think I had eight appearances the morning of the race – which is sometimes a blessing because it takes my mind off the pressure of race day. I felt awesome about my No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang all weekend and at the start of the race, but the cards just didn’t fall our way. We ended up with damage early in the race and took home a 16th-place finish.

Now Atlanta is a different beast from Daytona. Atlanta is the first time in the season you really see what kind of equipment you have – and my car was stout. Our practice speeds were awesome and it was really a confidence boost to the entire Roush Fenway Racing organization. A pit road penalty got us in the race, but if anything, Atlanta was rewarding to see what hard work everyone put in during the offseason.  Hopefully this translates to some good speed at Vegas this weekend.

Before I head out to Vegas, I’m hanging out at Lilly Diabetes’ Corporate Headquarters in Indianapolis today. Every time I go there it’s so fascinating to see how huge their campus is in downtown Indy. I really love that city and Lilly has a beautiful headquarters. Tomorrow it’s a filming day as me and my teammate, Bubba Wallace, will try out our acting skills for a NASCAR commercial. No worries – we aren’t shooting together. I don’t think either of us would be able to be serious enough to get any work done. Luckily that’s not the case when it comes to racing as we do pretty well sharing ideas and feedback on our cars.

Before I strap into my racecar this weekend, I have the chance to strap into a different kind of machine that is even faster than my car. On Thursday, I will fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at Nellis Air Force Base. I can’t even explain how excited, and nervous, I am for this chance. I think Kasey Kahne did it at Daytona and pulled something like 7 G’s – that’s nuts! Am I worried about passing out? Nah. I am up for the challenge. Be sure to follow along on my social channels to see all of the behind-the-scenes footage of my ride!

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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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