Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Reed and the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association team finished 13th on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after starting 18th and having to make an unscheduled pit stop to remove trash on the grille of the car.
“We made such great changes after practice for the race today and our car was really fast,” said Reed. “I’m really proud of the guys for battling back to get a decent finish after getting debris on the grille and having to pit under green. Hopefully the bad luck is out of our way and we can get the top 10 we deserve next week in Phoenix.”
The team started out the weekend with practice on Friday and fought the handling of the car throughout both practice sessions. The team made major adjustments overnight and found some speed in Saturday morning’s qualifying session, putting Reed through to the second round of knockout qualifying. The car was still too free for Reed’s liking, carrying him to an 18th-place starting position.
The caution flag flew before the field could complete an entire circuit around the 1.5-mile track in Saturday afternoon’s 200-lap event. Reed had made his way up to 15th and would restart there when the field went back to green. The 22-year-old driver was quiet on the radio for the majority of the first 30 laps, making his way up to the 12th position by Lap 41. He then radioed to the team that he was free on entry.
The team’s first green-flag pit stop of the day came on Lap 53. The team put on four fresh tires and refueled the No. 16 Ford Mustang, hoping to help the free conditions Reed was experiencing.
Just over 10 laps later, spotter Mike Herman Jr. told Reed he had a large piece of debris on the grille. As the engine’s water temperature began to rise, Reed dropped back behind another car to try to remove the debris, but was unsuccessful. Reed was forced to pit to remove the debris and was caught a lap down as the caution came out while he was still on pit road. Under the caution, the team took the wave around to get a lap back and restarted 22nd on Lap 78.
By the halfway point in the race, Reed had made his way up to the 18th position but was recording lap times matching those of drivers running in the top five.
The team made their second green-flag stop of the day on Lap 125 for fresh tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Nearly 10 laps later, the red flag was displayed for heavy debris from an on-track incident. Reed narrowly missed the carnage and took the wave around to get back on the lead lap. He settled into the 14th position when the field went back to green with 58 laps to go.
Reed made his way up to the 13th positon and would have to come down pit road on Lap 182 to top off with fuel. The team made a quick four-second pit stop, allowing Reed to return to the track to finish out the remaining laps in the 13th position.
After the third NASCAR XFINITY Series race of 2016, Reed is scored eighth in the championship standings, 27 points out of the lead. Reed and the rest of the NASCAR XFINITY Series will return to the track on Saturday, March 12th at Phoenix International Raceway.
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