Ryan Reed returns behind the wheel of the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang in 2016 for his third full-time season of NASCAR XFINITY Series competition. The 22-year-old Roush Fenway Racing driver from Bakersfield, Calif. captured his first career win in the 2015 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway and hopes to duplicate that success in 2016 with his sights ultimately set on winning a championship.
“I’m so excited about all of the changes at Roush Fenway over the off-season, which includes being paired up with Phil Gould as my crew chief,” said Reed. “We really have all the pieces to have a breakout year and surprise people - not only by winning some races but also getting out there and contending for a championship.”
After coming out of the gates with a win and the points lead, Reed went on to record top finishes of 11th at Fontana, Dover, Chicago and Charlotte and amassed a total of 16 laps lead for the season. Reed, who will make his 73rd career start when the green flag drops at Daytona, expects more out of himself this season.
“Things just didn’t click for us last year,” said Reed. “The potential is there and I think we have found the right pairings this season with a new crew chief and changes in the shop to really be competitive and turn some heads.”
Veteran crew chief Phil Gould is no stranger to Daytona’s high banks or working with young drivers like Reed. This Daytona race marks a milestone for Gould, as he records his 100th start as a NASCAR XFINITY Series crew chief. The Kendall Park, N.J. native’s NASCAR career spans more than 15 years as a mechanic, car chief, and crew chief for some of NASCAR’s top teams and drivers. Gould joined Roush Fenway in 2015 as the crew chief for Elliott Sadler, earning four top-five and 17 top-10 finishes, ultimately finishing the year sixth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings.
“There’s always growing pains when you make changes, but I feel like we work pretty closely at Roush Fenway so it will be easy to get over that honeymoon stage and learn to communicate effectively with each other,” said Gould. “We all have a deep desire to get Roush Fenway back where it needs to be and help drivers like Ryan gain confidence to be competitive every week.”
Reed’s hunt for a championship will take shape under a new elimination-style playoff format for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Reed can clinch a spot in the Chase by winning one of the first 26 regular-season races or by being in the top-12 in championship standings by the cutoff race at Chicago in September. Under the new points system, Reed would have qualified for the Chase in 2015 with his win at Daytona.
“It’s been so exciting to see how the Chase has impacted the Sprint Cup Series and the level of drama it’s brought to the sport,” said Reed. “Hopefully we can get a win right out the box so we can relax a little until the Chase starts, but I think we will be in good shape either way.”
Watch Reed defend his title at Daytona in the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener on February 20th at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
To join in the conversation throughout the year as the 16 Team competes for a Championship, follow @Reed16Team on Twitter and use #16in16.