The Saturday afternoon race at ISM Raceway continued on into the evening with the help of two red flag delays for rain. Ryan Reed qualified his No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford 12th, but was plagued by handling woes over the course of the race. An issue on a green flag stop late in the race cost him valuable track position, but despite the setback, Reed worked his way to an 18th-place finish.
“This is not the finish I hoped to have leaving Phoenix,” said Reed. “We’ve had some good runs here and in qualifying our car really seemed to improve, but in the race we weren’t where we need to be.”
Right from the start of the race Reed reported to his team that his Ford was tight through the center of the turns. Reed was able to pit under caution for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments 15 laps shy of the Stage break. With the adjustments, the handling shifted from tight to extremely loose at the conclusion of Stage 1.
The field was given the red flag for rain at the conclusion of Stage 1. After a delay for track drying, Reed lined up second for Stage 2 as other competitors opted to pit. Reed lost a little ground over Stage 2 while needing forward drive on exit and was running 12th when a caution came out with just eight laps remaining in the Stage. Reed visited pit road under caution, but before the field could go back to green the red flag was back out for rain. The delay was brief and set the field up for a one-lap shootout to conclude the Stage.
Reed took the green for the final Stage from the 10th position and the tight through the center handling woes returned. The final 100 laps were caution free and led to different pit strategies playing out for the field. Reed came down for service with 30 laps remaining, but a mishap from an over-the-wall crewmember on the stop cost him valuable time. Reed returned to the track in 21st and was able to gain a few positions to finish the race 18th.
RFR PR/Photo Robert Laberge/Getty Images