Ryan Reed was poised to earn his career best finish at Bristol Motor Speedway before a tire went flat on his No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford with only 12 laps remaining. Bristol has been Reed’s nemesis, but he was able to earn his best qualifying effort at the .0533-mile track of 12th and had a top-10 finish in his sights.
“A disappointing end to what was going to be a decent day,” said Reed. “We put ourselves in position for a top-10 run at Bristol which has been a really tough track for me. We qualified 12th which was great for us here and we had a lot of good things going for us before cutting a tire with 12 laps to go. Tough ending to what was going to be a decent day.”
Prior to qualifying Saturday morning, Reed’s best starting position at Bristol was 17th. Reed proved to himself he’s got what it takes to make it around Bristol by making it to the final round of qualifying to earn a 12th-place starting position.
Reed maintained his position over the course of Stage 1 and was able to gain a few additional spots with the help of pit strategy. Reed crossed the finish line eighth to close out Stage 1 and earned valuable Stage points.
Reed jumped up to third at the start of Stage 2 before he lost overall grip on his Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford. At the conclusion of the Stage, Reed brought his Ford down pit road for a chassis adjustment and lined up 15th for the final Stage of the race.
The first half of the race was full of cautions, but the last Stage provided a long green flag run for the field. Reed lost a lap to the leaders over the course of the Stage but was able to take the “wave around” to get back on the lead lap with just under 20 laps remaining.
Reed took the final restart 12th but had to take an unscheduled trip down pit road with a flat tire. Despite the flat tire, Reed preserved to the end to earn an 18th-place finish.
RFR PR/Photo Jerry Markland/Getty Images