INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 27, 2014) – Roush Fenway Racing rookie Ryan Reed made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday in the Lilly Diabetes 250. Crew Chief Seth Barbour made a bold fuel strategy call, but a mechanical issue on the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop DiabetesSM presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang left the team with a 20th-place finish.
“We were pretty good,” said Reed. “I felt like we were a solid top-10 Drive to Stop Diabetes Mustang. We were playing the fuel strategy game and came in right when we went green on that last caution. We knew we would be good on fuel for the rest of the way, but when I was leaving the pits and coming back on the back straightaway I felt like something broke.”
The Lilly Diabetes 250 took the green flag under cloudy skies and the threat of rain looming. Reed rolled off 13th for his 25th NNS start, remaining in the top-15 for the opening run of the 100-Lap race.
On Lap 17, the rookie visited pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to help his loose handling Mustang. On the ensuing green flag run, Reed continued to work his way forward. The driver was quiet on the radio, focusing on maneuvering his way through the field.
The team’s second pit stop of the day came on Lap 48. Barbour called for four tires, fuel and no adjustments. When Reed returned to the track he was happy with the handling of his Mustang, informing the team that the car felt a little bit free, but that he thought the handling would come to him.
A caution flag on Lap 60 brought the No. 16 team back down pit road for four tires and fuel. As the field came to take the green flag, Barbour made a daring pit strategy, calling Reed down pit road for a fuel only stop.
Upon returning to the track, Reed radioed to the team that something felt off with his Mustang, and that there was a vibration when he was in third gear. On Lap 73, Barbour called Reed down pit road to open the hood and check the spark plug wires. The team did not find an issue and sent Reed back onto the track.
The driver battled hard for the remainder of the race, bringing the No. 16 home in 20th. With the finish, Reed remains 10th in the NNS standings.