When Charlie Kimball became the first licensed driver with type 1 diabetes to compete in IndyCar it was seen as a breakthrough in motorsports. Now, another driver gets a chance to step into the limelight when it was announced on Friday that Ryan Reed will climb into the No. 16 Ford Mustang Nationwide Series car for the entire 2014 season for Roush Fenway Racing.
Reed, 20, posted a 14th-place finish in the running of the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway Friday night after starting 16th in just his fourth career NNS start. His sponsor for that race, the American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes, will be on board for every race next season. He was part of the Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign this year.
“On Monday they told me the deal was done and I signed my contract on Tuesday, so it all happened so fast” said Reed. “When you have a program like this where it all fits with the American Diabetes Association, Lilly Diabetes, Roush Fenway and Ford, everyone is so passionate. This has all the right parts and to be included in that is unreal for me as a driver living with diabetes. I just want to play a small part in helping stop diabetes.
“Ford is actually how we got involved with Roush. We were supporting Ford’s efforts with diabetes research and wanted to drive Fords, so having the Mustang adds and extra element as to how perfect this relationship is. Everyone supports the cause and it’s an amazing feeling.”
Reed will compete for rookie of the year honors as well as the Nationwide Series championship in 2014 and has already cracked the top-10 when he placed ninth at Richmond a week ago.
This year Reed has three starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and one more in the K&N West along with his four NNS races. In 2012 he had one start in the Camping World Truck Series while spending the majority of the season in ARCA where he posted a top-5 and six top-10s in 14 races.