BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 14, 2014) – In his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at Michigan International Speedway, Roush Fenway Racing rookie Ryan Reed powered his No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop DiabetesSM presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang into 11th. The finish was the team’s fifth top-15 finish, and highest finish of the season to-date.
“We were pretty fast,” said Reed. “I felt like on restarts we struggled in dirty air. I feel like that is where we needed to improve the most, but once we got going we had a solid race car. You start 24th and if you have a perfect race car you can drive into the top-five, but it is just so hard once you get up near that top-10. Everyone is so even and track position becomes so important. I thought that was probably our most solid day to date, and we are getting better every week. I am proud of everyone for making better race cars every week.”
The NNS set the field Saturday morning. After advancing to the second of three qualifying rounds, the team found a flat tire. Per NASCAR rules, the tire could not be changed, forcing the team to start 24th.
Reed took the green flag for the 125-lap race in a special Pathway to Stop Diabetes paint scheme. After an early caution and restart, Reed settled in to the top-20. He informed his crew chief Seth Barbour that his Mustang was a little tight, but that overall he was happy with the handling of the car.
On Lap 43 the team visited pit road for the first time of the day under green flag conditions. Barbour called for four tires, fuel and no chassis adjustments. Reed returned to the track in 15th. Just a few laps later, the caution flag flew, bringing the team to pit road again on Lap 53. This time the team opted for right side tires and fuel.
The race returned to green on Lap 56, with Reed restarting 15th. Ten laps later the caution flag flew again. Barbour radioed to his rookie driver to come down pit road for left side tires and fuel. On the ensuing restarted, Reed lined up 13th.
The young driver was patient, running a solid race. He gained two more positions before the checkered flag flew, bringing his No. 16 Ford Mustang home in 11th.