This weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway marks a milestone for Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Reed, who will attempt to make his Sprint Cup debut in the Hellmann’s 500. Reed, who in 2011 was diagnosed with diabetes and told he would never race again, will pilot the No. 99 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Fusion.
“To be this close to achieving a goal of mine is huge,” said Reed. “I know our Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association team has been working really hard to bring a stout piece to the track. Our goal is to go out there and keep our nose clean, run all of the laps, earn some respect and hopefully be in contention for a solid finish at the end.”
Reed has experienced success at Talladega’s sister track, Daytona International Speedway. The young driver kicked off the 2015 season at Daytona leading 14 laps and crossing the finish line first.
After climbing from the car Reed said, “This is for … every kid who gets diagnosed with diabetes, or anything, that says you can't do something, just go out there and overcome it and do it and win. Do the best you can. This is unreal. It hasn't even soaked in yet."
Reed, who is currently in contention for the inaugural Chase for the XFINITY Championship, is looking to make history as the only driver actively managing his diabetes to race at the Sprint Cup level.
Reed manages his diabetes through a strict diet and exercise program, the use of a wireless glucose monitoring device to provide in-race, real-time data, and consistent communication with his medical team in California.
Reed will look to become the 19th driver to start a Sprint Cup race for Roush Fenway and legendary owner Jack Roush.
The No. 99 was a mainstay at Roush Fenway from 1996 through 2014, being driven predominately by Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards. During that span, the car visited Victory Lane on 40 occasions and led more than 9,500 laps in Sprint Cup action.
Fans are encouraged to join the social conversation with Reed and Roush Fenway using the hashtag #IDriveMyHealth, to discuss the ways they actively manage their diabetes so they can still live well.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is set to take the green flag from Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, October 23 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN and MRN.