Behind The Wheel With Ryan Reed

NASCAR Xfinity Series racer Ryan Reed enters the Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway looking for a little redemption.

Running third with handful of laps remaining at Daytona, Erik Jones tapped Reed’s No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford, sending him spinning into the wall and out of the race.

That crash left Reed sitting sixth in the points, 200 out of the lead.

On the other hand, he does have his win from Daytona back in February that has him locked in to the playoffs. With only three Xfinity Series regulars scoring a win this season, it leaves Reed in a little better shape to shake off last week’s crash a little easier.

Reed and Jones have since talked about the incident, realizing it was a byproduct of restrictor plate racing and the timing of the situation.

“Erik told me that as the crash happened behind us, he began his move to the inside just as my spotter called the caution, I lifted and moved down, which was about the time his spotter called it,” Reed said.  He added that it’s really hard to do much of anything at that point as everyone is pushing as hard as possible.

With Daytona behind them, Reed and his Roush Fenway Racing team are focused on the 1.5-mile tracks, particularly this weekend at Kentucky.

Judging by the first practice, it would seem like they’re off with their speed. Reed’s No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford finished up 24th. However, he observed that there were several guys back around him in speed that typically run up front. Furthermore, he expressed his confidence following the only practice session of the weekend for the Xfinity Series.

One of the things all teams are facing this week is the new surface adorning Kentucky Speedway, which is now in its second season.  Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) worked on resurfacing some areas of the track during the off season.

Naturally, it had teams wondering what they would face this year.

Reed expressed his displeasure about the process Kentucky utilized with dragging tires.

“It really was just a waste of time,” Reed observed. “Drivers are going to work in the bottom grove on their own. They really needed to be more aggressive in working in that middle to top grove.”

Additionally, he observed that they really don’t have the time in a weekend to work in the middle grove.

Did Reed venture towards the higher line during the only practice round on Friday?

Not at all. Running on the outside of a fellow competitor, Reed’s car experienced “negative grip.”

Based on that moment, it could be a long night for the Xfinity drivers and teams, and possibly the same for their Cup counterparts on Saturday night.

Kentucky’s treacherous corner is turn three. After practicing in the heat of the day, Reed certainly believes that holds true.

Reed remains focused on tackling the tough Kentucky Speedway.

Reed remains focused on tackling the tough Kentucky Speedway.

“It’s not over-hyped if you miss the balance on the racecar,” Reed noted. “It is actually a pretty easy corner if you nail the balance. You can drive in under guys that have missed the balance on the car, even just a little and drive away from them on exit. It’s feast or famine down there.”

Reed hopes that his crew chief Phil Gould and his No. 16 team have a solid setup for tonight and that that he can advance through the field pretty quick.

Interestingly, Reed related racing at Kentucky to his season.

It started great with the win in Daytona. However, the intermediate tracks have been progressive for him. Reed said that at this point last year, “We only had one top 10 finish. This year, we have four plus the win. We have shown progress on the tracks that make up the heart of the schedule. We need to make the best of those races.”

In terms of areas of opportunity, Reed and his team have circled the short tracks.

“That’s were we are off the most right now,” he noted. “We’re really a mixed bag but I know we’ve made a ton of progress.”

The progress and speed that the No. 16 team has shown makes the week a little easier to handle.  In that regard, Reed stressed the importance to decompress.

“Unlike some, I don’t have a chart or six specific items that I do when I get home,” he said. “It’s really random, as I may go play golf, run some go-kart races, but it’s usually just spend time with friends and not think about racing.”

While it may seem surprising that a racecar driver does not think about the on track action, he relaxes by going toa go kart track with friends and race. Evidently, the competitive fire never fades for professional race car drivers.

Another hobby that Reed has taken to is cooking.

“I wasn’t a great cook, but now, it’s something I enjoy,” he said. “After my diagnosis, I had to find healthy foods, so that forced me in to the kitchen.”

As a bachelor, Reed doesn’t have someone to share the kitchen with. Perhaps that may change and we’ll see a show cooking with the Californian.

Presently, he has about “six or seven things that (he) really likes to make.” From chicken to salmon, it’s not a wide range. All told, it’s not like he’s writing a cookbook. In fact, he says he may use a cookbook or recipes once every six month.

Ultimately, it’s a good thing his truck driver is a good cook on race weekends. No matter his skills away from the track, Reed is a becoming a fan favorite. With success on the track, he’s taking a negative in his life and leading by example on how to be the best you can.

More people are aware about diabetes and how you can still have a full and active life. You don’t have to back down. Ryan Reed is a prime example of never backing down.

Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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