By virtue of team owner Richie Wauters, Ryan Reed is getting a chance to compete in what amounts to a ‘Homecoming Race.’
The two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series Daytona winner has entered the Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway and it marks the first time the Bakersfield, California native has raced at his home track since 2014.
Back then, he raced in the track’s weekly Pro Late Model division.
Reed has yet to reveal any 2019 racing plans, having lost his Lilly Diabetes sponsorship with Roush Fenway Racing so Reed jumped at the chance to compete in the richest Super Late Model race in North America.
“Richie called my dad (Mark Reed) a couple weeks ago and said his car opened up, and we jumped on the opportunity,” Reed said in a SRL Southwest Tour press release. “Since the Winter Showdown began, I’ve wanted to race it.
“It’s a marquee short track race now, and it’s in my hometown, so obviously it has been on my radar to be a part of it. When Richie called I was so excited, I felt like not only could I go run it, but we’d have a shot to win.”
This isn’t the first time Reed has raced with Wauters, having made his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start with Wauters Motorsports in 2012. The result was a 17th-place finish at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
It’s been awhile since Reed has raced a Super at his home track but never in equipment as good as Wauter’s.
“I ran a few Super races there five or six years ago before I ran Xfinity full time,” Reed said. “The place is super fast. I remember turn three being really tricky, with the back straightaway being raised. It’s going to be really cool to be racing at home again. I grew up watching my dad race at Mesa Marin and loved it so much. I’ve always loved the racing community in Bakersfield.”
This will also be the first time since 2011 that Reed has participated in an event sanctioned by the SPEARS Southwest Tour. Reed had five starts with the series, between 2010 and 2011. His best finish was a second-place effort at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011 behind four-time series champion Derek Thorn, who will be looking for his second victory in the signature event on Saturday.
This will be the Wauters Motorsports Team’s third trip to the Winter Showdown. Wauters brought Dalton Sargeant to the inaugural Showdown in 2015, finishing second. In 2018, Wauters came with Mason Mingus and finished 16th after a late incident.
The race will air live on Saturday afternoon via a live Speed51.com PPV. A full preview and entry list can be found here.