Reed races for a reason

Ryan Reed races a video game version of his racecar while his dad, Mark, explains the game to his mom, Karla, during an event at the Advance Auto Parts in Pelham on May 2. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A day before he hit the track for practice and qualifying at the Talladega Superspeedway, 18-year-old NASCAR development driver Ryan Reed made a stop in Pelham to support a cause close to his heart.

Reed, who will race with Venturini Motorsports in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 race on May 4 at Talladega, spent the afternoon of May 2 at the Advance Auto Parts store near the U.S. 31-Alabama 119 intersection in Pelham.

While there, he displayed a life-size stock car simulator designed to look like his No. 15 car sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The event also featured a silent auction full of Advance Auto Parts products, NASCAR art and “Ryan’s Mission” gear.

On May 1, Reed made an appearance at a Birmingham Barons game, where he threw out the first pitch.

All money raised during the events was donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – a cause Reed said has special meaning to him.

“I was diagnosed last year with type-1 diabetes, and the doctor told me I would never race again,” Reed said. “Because I have been able to continue racing, I feel like I have an obligation to give back.

“If I can inspire a kid to not give up on their dreams, I will be successful,” Reed added.

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 will mark Reed’s second race on a superspeedway after he raced at Daytona in mid-February. Reed said there is “nothing like” traveling in excess of 190 miles per hour in a stock car.

“I got my superspeedway jitters out of the way at Daytona,” he said. “I’m pretty excited about Talladega. If you make a mistake at 190 miles per hour, there are some pretty big consequences.”