Ryan Reed’s right-front tire blew without warning just 41 laps into the race Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Reed brushed the outside wall while saving his Ford, then came down pit road for fresh right-side tires. The untimely incident put Reed two laps down to the field early on in the race and a much needed caution to make up the lost track position never fell his way, resulting in a 23rd-place finish for the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang.
“That flat tire early on put us behind,” said Reed. “I thought we could get the wave around right after it happened at that stage break but I guess they closed the pits right there. It was the worst case scenario for us. Tough deal. I felt we had an okay Mustang, one that could contend for a top-10 and keep us in this deal and go to Phoenix and give ourselves a shot but it wasn’t meant to be. I am proud of everyone on the Lilly Diabetes Mustang team for not giving up and we won’t give up. We are still in it. It is pretty much a must-win going to Phoenix next weekend. That is the mentality we will have.”
Reed qualified 15th in his No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang and had a fast car over the course of Stage 1. Reed was looking to crack the top 10 when his right-front tire blew out without any warning. The blown tire caused Reed to make a little contact with the outside wall, but he was able to keep his Ford and one piece and make his way down pit road for right-side tires.
The unplanned trip down pit road came just prior to the conclusion of Stage 1, meaning NASCAR had already deemed pit road closed until the Stage break. Reed was assessed a penalty for pitting when pit road was closed and was left two laps down to the field.
The team attempted to use pit strategy to stretch fuel mileage in hopes to get back on the lead lap, but cautions never fell the way they needed. Reed was able to capitalize on taking the wave around mid-race, but a much needed caution to get back on the lead lap never came.