Type 1 Diabetic Ryan Reed to run at least five Nationwide Series racesBy Ashley McCubbin
After being told two years ago that he would never be able to race again, Type 1 diabetic Ryan Reed announced that he will run at least five races for Roush Fenway Racing driving the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Mustang. His first race is scheduled for Richmond International Raceway in May.
“Roush Fenway Racing has always been in the business of helping to facilitate the career of young drivers,” Eric Peterson, Operations Manager at Roush Fenway Racing said. “We have a robust driver development program and have identified Ryan as a potential young talent and we are looking forward to seeing how he performs on the track. If you look back over the past couple of years, we have been fortunate to have the opportunity to evaluate quite a few drivers behind the wheel of our cars and we are anxious to see what Ryan can do with this opportunity.”
Reed raced last year full-time in the ARCA Racing Series for Venturini Motorsports, before making his NASCAR debut late in the season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“I see this as an opportunity to show my ability,” Ryan Reed stated. “Obviously my goal is to follow in the progression of many drivers that have started inside the Nationwide Series ranks and worked their way up to contend for the Sprint Cup. It will be a great opportunity and I intend to make the most of it.”
Reed got started at a young age in racing, racing go-karts at the age of four. He continued moving his way up the racing ladder, winning the Legends Division Track Championship at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in 2009. The following season, he became the Super Late Model Division Rookie of the Year while becoming the youngest winner in the division when he scored one win. In 2011, Reed raced a variety of cars, including the Pro Allstars Series, NASCAR Whelen All American and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
However, a pause was brought in the process up the ranks as two years ago at the age of 17, Reed was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and was told that he would never be able to race again.
“When I was diagnosed, I was really humbled, especially when they told me I wasn’t going to be able to race again,” he told me last March. “I was devastated and really just, I thought I was invincible and then to learn that my dream was going to be taken away.”
Reed added it was heartbreaking at the time and caused him to grow up quickly.
“I thought I could sit there, pout and throw a tantrum till I got my way,” he continues. “Then I realized that’s not going to beat this. I need to – I got to take a step back and think about it. I just decided that if there was anything I could do to put myself back behind the wheel of a race car, then that’s what I was going to do.”
However after getting in contact with Dr. Ann Peters, Reed was told that it was possible, just some hard work was required along the way.
Last year, Reed made his ARCA Racing Series debut at Daytona International Speedway and never looked back. Through the course of his rookie season, he wrapped up one top five and six top 10s, delivering him the chance of a lifetime with Roush Fenway.
While continuing to grow his racing program, Reed created Ryan’s Mission as a way to promote diabetes awareness and educating people while racing. As a National Spokesperson for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Reed’s story has touched the hearts of many.
“The American Diabetes Association is thrilled to collaborate with Roush Fenway Racing and Ryan’s Mission on the Drive to Stop Diabetes awareness campaign,” said Larry Hausner, Chief Executive Officer, American Diabetes Association. “As one of the nearly 26 million people living in the U.S. with diabetes, Ryan Reed is an inspiring individual and his voice is critical to spreading awareness and educating communities across the country about this disease.”
Fundly will be an associate sponsor on the No. 16 Drive to Stop Diabetes Ford Mustang and will fully support the crowd-funding mission.
“Fundly is proud to partner with Ryan Reed on the Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign,” Tom Kramer, CMO, Fundly explained. “This man and this campaign are emblematic of everything Fundly stands for: coming together and unleashing our individual power to do good in our world. Go Ryan! The entire Fundly team is with you all the way to the finish! Ryan is another example of inspiring individuals using Fundly for Social Good. Ryan turned his diabetes diagnosis into an opportunity to raise awareness and raise money for a cure. As far as we know, he is one of the first NASCAR drivers to embrace crowdfunding for a cause. That puts him miles ahead in our book!”
“I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to not only be able to drive for the most winning NASCAR team as a development driver for Roush Fenway Racing,” Ryan said. “But I also have the opportunity to help other people by educating them and letting them know – life has no limits!”
Right now the schedule is set to at least five races. However, if more funding can be acquired, they are looking to run more.
“A perfect world would be about 10-15, well, a perfect world would be a full schedule but we’re optimistic for about 10-15 races and we’re going really hard for a full schedule in 2014,” Reed said.