Analysis: Daytona Xfinity win knocks down another obstacle for Reed

Following his first Xfinity Series victory two years ago at Daytona, it would be another 15 months before Ryan Reed would finish in the top-10 again of a series race.

Analysis: Daytona Xfinity win knocks down another obstacle for Reed
Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane
Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane
Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates his win with a burnout
Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates his win in Victory Lane
Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford, takes the checkered flag
Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates his win in Victory Lane
Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford celebrates his win in Victory Lane with Jack Roush
Race winner Ryan Reed, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

During that span he became the butt of jokes on social media from those who questioned his inability to replicate his stunning 2015 victory.

The doubters have now been silenced.

Reed not only won again, but he did so in the same race, claiming the 2017 series opener last weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

If you’re going to have two wins at the same track early in your career, Daytona certainly isn’t a bad place for that to happen.

Even more remarkable was Reed’s ability to persevere – remaining with the same Roush Fenway Racing team during the 65-race winless span.

How did he make it?

“I just keep my head down. You know, I put my blinders on to the people who don't have good things to say and surround myself with people who believe in me,” Reed, 23, said. “Having a race team that believes in you is half the battle in my opinion.

“If you show up to the race track and you’ve got your guys (on the team) questioning you, you’re already beat, and I don’t have that, and I haven’t the last two years.”

No stranger to adversity

Overcoming obstacles is nothing new for Reed, who continues to compete in NASCAR despite being diagnosed in February 2011 with type 1 diabetes.

“There’s a lot of perseverance, a lot of adversity in this sport, and when you can block out all the negative – which there's plenty of it, there's plenty of it in all sports – you’re going to find success,” Reed said.

“If you want it bad enough, you're willing to put in the hours, and God knows Roush Fenway is and myself, and Lilly Diabetes and everyone else and Ford and Roush Yates and everyone who touches that race car – they’re committed to winning.

“When we come down here and do it, it’s not a surprise to us because we worked hard to do it.”

Team owner Jack Roush also believes that Reed has become a better driver over the course of the last two seasons, with noticeable improvement on the track.

“He's got to the point he can ask for what he wants. I often look at the simulation that we use to solve problems in the computer for the car. If you don't ask the right question, you don't get an answer that means anything,” Roush said.

“If you're a driver and if you don't want the things that make your car go fast, if you want something that makes it feel good that doesn't have speed in it, well, then you've got a problem. You can't ever make it fast.”

Never give up

Reed showed enough improvement last season that he qualified for the Chase in the first season NASCAR utilized it in the Xfinity Series. He ended up finishing sixth in the series standings after finishing 16th or better in 10 of the last 11 races.

“We’ve just really never gave up, and I try and emulate that in a lot of areas of my life, whether it's diabetes or driving race cars or anything else,” he said.

“It really seems to pay off.”

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About this article

Series NASCAR XFINITY
Event Daytona
Location Daytona International Speedway
Drivers Ryan Reed
Teams Roush Fenway Racing
Author Jim Utter