SPARTA, Ky. (June 28, 2014) – Roush Fenway Racing rookie Ryan Reed made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at Kentucky Speedway Friday night under the lights. The driver of the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop DiabetesSM presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang had a fast car with strong lap times, battling for position inside the top-15 all evening. The rookie driver ultimately crossed the finish line 17th.
“I was proud of the team because we had speed,” said Reed. “We practiced in the top-five and qualified in the top-15 and raced in the top-15 all night and just couldn’t catch a break there. We were faster than a lot of guys in front of us at the end, but just ran out of laps.”
The NNS traveled to Kentucky Speedway for the first of two races this season. With a test session on Wednesday, Reed had some additional time on the track for his first NNS start. Teams qualified in the heat of the afternoon on Saturday. Reed piloted his Mustang to 15th to start the race.
Reed took the green flag for the 200-lap, 300-mile race with the threat of rain looming. At the drop of the green, the rookie driver maintained his position inside the top-15. On Lap 27 he informed his Crew Chief Seth Barbour that his Mustang was too loose on entry and too tight on exit.
Barbour used the first caution of the day as an opportunity to tune on the handling of Reed’s Mustang, opting for four tires and fuel along with track bar and wedge adjustments.
During the next green flag run, Reed told his crew that the last adjustment helped his entry, but had not fixed the tight on exit condition.
Under the next caution, Barbour again called his driver down pit road to take a swing at the handling. This time he decided on four tires and fuel, along with a track bar adjustment.
The next time the caution flew, Barbour kept his driver on the track, advancing him to 10th on the ensuing restart. Reed was happy with the car, radioing to the team that the adjustment on the previous pit stop had helped the handling of his Mustang.
An untimely caution during a round of green flag stops dropped the No. 16 back to 21st, knocking Reed off the lead lap. Reed battled to get into the position for the free pass, ultimately receiving the pass with 25 laps remaining. The rookie would pick up four positions to close the race, coming home 17th.