[media-credit name=”Venturini Motorsports” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]In February 2011, Ryan Reed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). A year later and the 18-year-old from Bakersfield, California is ready to make his debut with Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season opener at Daytona International Speedway on February 18th. Reed will behind the wheel of the No. 15 JDRF racecar for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, with support from Advance Auto Parts.
“Racing at Daytona is a dream-come true,” Reed says. “Since I was a kid I dreamed of the day I would have the opportunity to compete on the historic track. And then to go to the test with Venturini Motorsports in December and be at the top of the charts on the first day was unreal!”
When Reed was diagnosed with T1D last year, his was told that his racing career was over. Instead of listening, Reed turned that on its head and shifted his focus to managing his health and educating himself.
Now back behind the wheel, Reed is one of three professional racecar drivers in the world to compete at a high level of racing with T1D. One of the other drivers with T1D is IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball, who was diagnosed in 2007.
Beyond just getting back behind the heel, Reed is using his story and racing to inspire others to continue living their lives to the fullest if they’ve
[media-credit name=”Ryan Reed Racing” align=”alignright” width=”112″][/media-credit]been diagnosed. He has also become the National Celebrity Adocate for JDRF, the world’s largest funder of research towards curing, treating and preventing T1D and its complications.
“JDRF has an amazing group of people that are involved in the organization. We’ve been working with them locally, and on a national level more recently. I feel like part of the family whenever we do events together,” Reed says. “I just feel so fortunate that I can inspire others and create such a positive atmosphere after being diagnosed with a life-long disease.”
In designing the paint scheme, Reed teamed up with Sam Bass, who was NASCAR’s first officially licensed artist and design icon. This paint scheme means something to Bass, too, as he was diagnosed with T1D in 1992.
“I am thrilled to be working with such a talented, young, up and coming driver as Ryan Reed,” Bass says. “His partnership with JDRF has a tremendously special meaning to me, as I also have type 1 diabetes, and have dealt with the disease all of my life. I can relate first hand to the goals and initiatives JDRF has set to help people living with diabetes, and to find a cure. JDRF does very impactful work, and I am extremely proud to assist them in their marketing efforts with the Venturini Motorsports Team and Ryan.”
Practice for the season-opening race starts on Thursday, February 16, while qualifying is Friday, February 17 at 2pm. The race, scheduled to be televised live by SPEED-TV, is Saturday, February 18 at 4:30pm ET.