By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – A single point can make or break a chance for a NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship. Ryan Reed found out just how much of a difference a point can make, edging out Brendan Gaughan for the final transfer spot for the Round of Eight.
It was a fight all night long for Reed and his No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang team. Both him and Gaughan raced around each other for the entirety of the Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The duo entered the race separated by two points, the advantage in Reed’s favor. However, Reed was much more consistent throughout the race than Gaughan.
Reed held his own on restarts as Gaughan’s No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro SS struggled. However, neither would relent as they both went three-wide not once but twice. In the end, Gaughan finished 11th, one spot ahead of Reed (12th) on the racetrack, but Reed ended up ahead in the Playoff Standings by just a single point.
Reed admitted that he ran conservatively, but by no means was going to give his Playoff berth away.
“I ran a somewhat conservative race all night and there were moments and chances I could have took earlier on in the race and I kind of hedged my bet. Right there you knew you had fast cars behind you. I knew the 33 was gonna be coming and I think that if I didn’t get by the 9 right then, I almost cleared the 62 also, but he pulled a heck of a slide job in three and four and kept it in front of me. That was a great move and gave himself a shot, but I felt like if we got hung up by the 9 at all we weren’t good enough to just go out and pass him.”
” He probably could have hung on and been a big enough burden to where even if we did get by him maybe hold me up long enough to let the 33 get by me, but it was definitely that moment where I figured I have to take this chance, I have to see. It may not work out. We may all go down in three and wreck, but I felt like if I didn’t I was gonna give it away.”
This is the second year in a row that Reed has made it to the Round of Eight in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. Last year, the Roush Fenway Racing driver relied solely on driver points. This year, a win in the season-opener at Daytona netted him five Playoff Points which ultimately helped make the difference at Charlotte.
After the reseeding for the Round of Eight, Reed sits seventh in the Playoff Standings, 21-points behind points leader William Byron. He is also four points behind Daniel Hemric who now hold the cutoff for the Championship Four.
Now Reed will have to wait until Kansas Speedway to have a chance to secure a spot in the Championship Four with the NASCAR Xfinity Series having next weekend off.