After a forgettable string of races, Ryan Reed appears to have his season back on track with a ninth-place finish on Saturday night at Richmond Raceway. Before the ToyotaCare 250, the Roush Fenway Racing driver answered some questions for Popular Speed.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts on how your season has gone so far to date?
RYAN REED: I thought we started off really well as we came out with a third place at Daytona. Then, we had a top-10 at Atlanta and went ice cold on the west coast swing. We had some good racecars for the west coast thing, but we didn’t execute well. I felt like we struggled to finish races. I think that’s kind of where we are at right now. We need to put it all together and finish these races off.
We are qualifying really well; I think we’ve made the final round each week except twice this year. So I know we have the speed. It’s just about making sure we are making good adjustments during the race, and we don’t kind of tune ourselves out of a top-10 finish. But I think we are close, and the fact we are qualifying up front, we are giving ourselves opportunities to run upfront. We are going to be just fine.
PS: Given the success that you’ve been able to have, and seeing where Roush Fenway’s Cup program is, how soon do you feel you’ll be ready to make it to the next step on the NASCAR ladder?
REED: For me, I feel like I’m ready today. As a racecar driver and athlete in general, when you’re competing in your sport and you’re giving 100% every day and everytime you compete, you do your research and homework, you always feel like you’re ready. You feel you have the talent, skill set. If you don’t feel like that, you’re probably in the wrong business. But for me, I’m ready and I feel I have a lot of great people around me in Jack Roush and all the employees at Roush Fenway to help make that decision. Whenever they decide and whenever we figure out sponsors in all that goes with it and they get me in a Cup car, I’ll be ready. Whether that’s today, tomorrow, or two years away, it’s great.
PS: What track are you most looking forward to getting to?
REED: I think obviously we our success at the plate tracks for me and Roush Fenway as a whole, for me, I look forward to the plate races. I feel we have a great shot at contending for a win; those are always exciting. I think our mile and a half program is pretty strong and getting stronger, so that’s exciting to see. So Charlotte is a great track. I really enjoy going there. Its kind of a home track for us. Its a track I used to not like very much when I was younger, but as I matured in the series, I’ve come to enjoy it. So it’s a place that I have circled on my calendar that I look forward to going to.
PS: Who is your racing hero?
REED: So as a kid growing up, I was a huge Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan. I remember watching his No. 8 Chevy go around the track every weekend. I was just a die-hard Dale Jr fan. I got a diecast that I got signed at Fontana that actually sits on my desk. That’s my only signed piece – kind of like fan stuff, whatever. So Dale Jr was my favorite Cup driver, but my dad raced for years on the west coast. He made a few Cup starts, but also raced in the now K&N series on the west coast. My dad has definitely been a huge part of my life and my success. He’s just been a great mentor and someone that I grew up watching.
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