Need for Speed Runs Deep in Reed Family
NEWTON, Iowa (June 19, 2016) – When Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed hits the track in Newton, Iowa on Sunday afternoon, the man who inspired his desire to be a racecar driver will be watching from some 1,700 miles away in Bakersfield, Calif. Ryan’s father, Mark Reed, won’t be at the track this Father’s Day weekend, but that won’t stop Ryan from doing his best to make his dad proud.
“My dad has been so important to my racing career, from getting me involved in the sport to encouraging me every step along the way,” said Ryan Reed. “Having your dad as a former driver puts a little extra pressure on you for sure, but his knowledge and support have been invaluable to my racing career.”
Mark Reed competed in the 1990’s and early 2000’s in NASCAR-sanctioned racing divisions on the west coast, including the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series, where he won two races. He also made two starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix International Raceway in 1990 and 1991. When Ryan started racing go karts at the age of four, Mark’s racing career took a backseat to help his young son get started in what would turn into a career they could enjoy together.
“I think it’s a father’s dream to have one of their children follow in their footsteps,” said Mark Reed. “My relationship with Ryan is very special. We have been through so much together. He’s truly my best friend and inspires me more every day.”
When Ryan took the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway in 2015, his father Mark was the first one to Victory Lane to make sure Ryan knew how proud he was. After watching his son struggle with a diabetes diagnosis in 2011 and being told he would never race again, Mark knew this moment of victory was monumental in Ryan’s racing career, but also to their family’s efforts to bring awareness to diabetes.
After his diagnosis, he started Ryan’s Mission, with the help of his father, Mark, and mother, Karla, to bring awareness to the disease and raise money for diabetes research. Ryan’s Mission joined with the American Diabetes Association, and later Lilly Diabetes, to form the Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign in 2013.
Ryan and his parents have traveled the country for speaking engagements and fundraisers, encouraging not just children living with diabetes, but also their parents, to stay positive and chase their dreams.
“Sharing a racing career with my dad is definitely special, but having him at my side as a part of the bigger picture of diabetes awareness is something most drivers don’t have,” said Ryan. “On this Father’s Day, I just want to say ‘thanks’ and I hope to make you proud in Iowa, dad.”
Ryan and the rest of the NASCAR XFINITY Series take the green flag from Iowa Speedway on Sunday, June 19 at 12:30 p.m. CT.