Ryan Reed Show Notes

0:03 / 41:35

The Game Plan T1D Podcast: Episode 5 - Ryan Reed



Sam Benger

Published on Sep 3, 2018



This episode of the Game Plan T1D Podcast features T1D athlete Ryan Reed. Ryan is a professional stock car racing driver and competes full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he races the #16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang for the Roush Fenway Racing team. Undaunted by his diabetes, Ryan has captured two wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since his diagnosis. Ryan also founded his own non-profit, Ryan’s Mission which helps give back to the Diabetes community. Listen in and be inspired!



what is going on gameplan t1d community

I've got a great episode for you today

with Ryan Reid before I introduce our

guest today I just wanted to make a

quick little public service announcement

coming up this will be our fifth episode

we hope you guys are enjoying the

content that we're putting out there but

if not let us know hit us up on either

social media or you can send us an email

through our site WWMT wendy calm and

just let us know is there an athlete

that you want to hear their story do you

want to publicize your own story we can

make that happen is there an area

regarding a certain athletes life that

you want to hear more about let us know

and we will do our best to make that


for today's episode I was lucky enough

to have the opportunity to sit down with

Ryan Reed

Ryan is a type 1 diabetic diagnosed at

age 19 and went on to do some amazing

things on the racetrack he's currently a

driver in the NASCAR Xfinity series and

is just crushing it his racing career

began way back at the age of four he

grew up around racing with his dad being

involved in NASCAR and being a racer

racecar driver himself so I was really

looking forward to hear Ryan's story and

also the other amazing thing that Ryan

is doing is he has his own

non-for-profit Ryan's mission that's

another thing that we talked about in

this episode just giving back to the

diabetic community which is just so

refreshing to see him doing at such a

young age so without any further ado

please enjoy my conversation with Ryan



welcome to the game plan to indie

podcast Ryan how are you doing today

doing great just hanging out at my home

in North Carolina and middle the weeds

so just kind of getting ready for for

the next race it's this weekend busy

busy time the middle of summer it's kind

of fun we're in full swing so just yeah

just enjoying the middle to racism

absolutely so how is this season going I

took a look at your your race schedule

in it like you said it's pretty hectic

so how is the season going so far and if

you don't mind you can maybe talk about

your upcoming schedule and maybe sort of

what a normal week of of racing looks

like yeah so you know but to answer your

question about how two seasons ago in I

feel like uh you know our season felt

long you know so we go through you know

I mean obviously a great season is when

you're when when everything goes great

and there's no problems on here long but

that that's really rare so I feel like

we've we've had you know great runs and

we've had not-so-great runs so I felt

like in the front part of season we we

strong a lot with consistency and being

able to put together good finishes week

in and week out and kind of closing out

races where we should finish over the

last six weeks I feel like we've really

rebounded nicely we've been able to

finish in the top ten really

consistently and really build our gap to

the cutoff one in our playoffs which

some of those listen you know what

racing is a unique sport and so we do

have a playoff system that spends about

three or four years old but I think it's

been awesome for the drivers and for the

fans and so we're state claims about the


we have spirit four races left and until

our playoffs start you know right now

it's just about continuing that

consistency that we've built over the

last month or so and really grinded it

out until until the playoffs start then

obviously once you get in the playoffs

it's it's like I mean a whole whole

nother level you know and I think that

it's funny because in force we see a lot

of people talk about playoffs and ever

reason like this racetrack

we you know we everyone who touches a

racecar just gives 100% but once the

playoffs start man it's a whole nother

level and you can't really describe why

just intensity wraps up your gram stuff

your team elevates everyone elevates and

so it's pretty cool to see and it's a

special time here it's funny I am

for me growing up it was always football

was my background so racing to me is

really foreign but definitely overlap

there between the excitement and the the

energy behind kind of that playoff run

so talk a little bit about how the

travel factors in it sounds like on a

week to week basis the whole team is

pretty busy preparing for these

different venues do those changes in the

race tracks and the venue's does that

play into how you prepare for the

different races oh absolutely you know I

think that that's that's probably the

most unique thing about our sport is

that the the change in venue it makes it

impossible to practice you know it's not

a it's not what we can go run drills and

we can go we can go create we can go

actually simulate on track stuff like a

test track or something the only way if

you were to go I actually do meaningful

you know having a meaningful practice

like you wouldn't other sports you could

go to that race track and actually

practice because every track is so much

different whether you're talking about

the just the general shape of it the

banking the surface you know how old the

surfaces plays a major factor I mean

even even down to what it was like when

they poured the asphalt or the concrete

like all that stuff played such a vital

role to how you setup the race car and

how you drive it so the only way we

really can practice is with simulators

and Ford all the manufacture all the

major manufacturers have a have a

state-of-the-art simulator that it's

really I'll be on it tomorrow

getting ready doing some pre-race kind

of test stuff but it's not obviously not

not the real thing so when I reckon the

simulator we had a reset button there's

there's no there's no reset button in

real life obviously but so that's kind

of how we how we prepare which you think

has changed a lot over the last five to

ten years and then like you said the

travel was definitely grueling you know

we're on a form point every weekend

headed somewhere and so this weekend

we're headed up to accountant and we're

gonna race it Road America which we have

the four road courses a year where we

actually make left and right turns I

think what people think of NASCAR

obviously it's the last turn thing and

we do make our fair amount of left turns

but for a year we make left and right

turn so this would be a lot of fun you

know like I said week in and week out

we're getting on a plane traveling

somewhere and that's that's tough I mean

though I think having for me you know

being being regimented and having a good

consistent scheduled routes throughout

the weekend

and knowing what I got going on and

making sure that I that I get to keep my

house in order week in a week out is it

so important to being able to be as

paired as possible for each weekend yeah

I think for me it's just shocking

because usually when you associate you

know all that travel and all of that

that work that has to get done you're

going to be mentally fatigued and in

your sport like you said with the

simulator you need to be so sharp

because there is no reset button you're

in a you know a car going around the

track hundreds of miles per hour so you

need to be very very mentally sharp and

on point you talked about you found kind

of a good schedule and a good regimen

that works for you what does that kind

of look like for you and how do you stay

so mentally sharp throughout all the

travel and all the work over the course

of the season yeah I think ideally you

know we grape on physically Saturday

afternoons and we'll fly home right

after the race and you spend Sunday just

enjoying your Sunday right I mean just

taking a day decompressing and I chew

just 1025 and so do mean it's all the

same stuff you know hanging out my

buddies and having a good time whether

on the lake or go golfing whatever it is

and then Monday usually the first thing

I do is wake up and go to the gym and

you know our bodies get I mentioned turn

25 I feel like I'm my 55 I you know we

usually spend most of Monday morning

just working through and rolling out

doing kind of a stretching routine that

I have to make sure that I kind of

decompress my body a little bit just

because you know sitting in those race

cars and dealing with those g-forces for

three hours every Saturday take toll and

so yeah it's probably said first Monday

morning a chase I'm just working out and

kind of getting hitting the reset button

but all the fatigue and my body's gone

through and then Monday afternoon you

either go to race shop typically try and

go to the race shop Monday afternoon for

a little bit and then it's a laundry and

dishes and Elda get my house back a good

spot every once in awhile the peanuts

the race track stops and it's like okay

I got it I got to do laundry I'll begin

in like I said yeah exactly and then

prepare Tuesday we have we have a team

meeting talk about the weekend before so

every Tuesday afternoon everybody on our

race team at Roush Fenway get together

and we really break down the weekend

that gives the bad the ugly and figure

out how as a whole team we can get

better pretty much after Tuesday

afternoon you stop thinking about what

happened weekend before whether you won

the race or you finished at last


put it to that it doesn't matter how you

ran because I next weekend is obviously

the most important thing so as soon as

that meeting closes the door I'll walk

over and get my kerchief and I say okay

what do we got for this weekend we talk

about setup and game plans and then

Wednesday is usually a day where if I am

going to be simulator work and about

half a day Wednesday doing that and gym

every day so Tuesday's meetings and gym

and Wednesday is simulator and gym and

then Thursday is like a nice little day

off you know it's packing getting ready

for the weekend ahead if I could have

fun - time to go play around a golf or

just whatever going to Lake whatever I

can you know my buddy don't like to surf

a lot and wake surf and so we'll do that

just whatever we can do to just enjoy

ourselves and and really kind of clear

our head before the race weekend starts

you know I think we all all it's young

guys we school with there's a lot of

pressure on us perform and so we we take

that very seriously so it's nice to just

go clear the head and get you a really

good mental spot before we forget the

reconverted so Ryan you talked about

from where your career is now having

just turned 25 middle this season but I

want to go back to the start of your

racing career so if you can fill our

listeners in on when that all started I

understand you you grew up around racing

your father Mark who was a former NASCAR

driver as well but talk to us how you

found racing as kind of a passion when

this all started

yeah you know like you said my dad race

and so it was something that just some

time I can remember racing was it was in

my life my dad be booboo the same thing

you know with either me my brother at

the racetrack watching him or we were at

my grandmas off my weekend while my dad

was was at the racetrack and I loved it

it was just so cool and although it's

definitely a very energetic child and

felt like I was just constantly needing

need to know what's going on and then

being able to you know run around and

just was always very good play set an

energetic child and then but when the

race started and I was able to go to

watch my dad it was like I didn't even

care like I mean I could sit there for

three and a half hours and just watch my

dad make laps and study it and I think

those are some of my earliest memories

around racing is just watching my dad

race and like you know trying to figure

it out and try understand what was going

on then when when I was old enough I got

my first yellow car I was 44 years old

sounds awful young but seems like


towards nowadays you know you're

starting as young as possible and push

our racing go-carts and from the time I

started my go-kart you know I mean I

remember growing up you know eat apple

out in school what you wanna do any grow

up I never wait it was always a it was

always a NASCAR driver not not it not

just a racecar driver I mean there's

obviously a lot of forms of racing it

was I want to be a NASCAR driver I grew

up with that and went to do all of

school with us through high school and

then obviously I was racing go-karts all

the time you you're kind of climbing a

ladder just like you would manage for

you're getting into

for us it's heavier faster cars that

they don't drive is good faster being

you know one of the key words just every

time you get into a the next class or

the next

there's a cut for division it's always a

faster racer you're going faster and

faster and faster and so so I'm out 17

years old I was out racing full-size

cars doing you know 140 miles an hour

130 miles an hour my local short track

which is really cool you know I think I

had to I had a lot of you know grew up

in California so racing wasn't overly

popular but I was good friends it all

love to go to racetracks actually you

know when we would get done with high

school we would that was the first thing

we did we make sure our homework got

done so mom dad would let me race and

then it was a good work on race cars and

those were some of the coolest time for

that felt like it wasn't just driving

race cars it was figuring out how to

work on them and hang out my buddies and

send them from there obviously I'm Jack

North John 17 years old

North Carolina's kinda hub so obviously

I said weren't thought today and yeah

and I was I was so fortunate to you know

I think once you walk people can can

race to that level in their 17 or 18

then I got a few opportunities to race

in NASCAR and racing Xfinity series I

had a five race deal with the Ross

Fenway did pretty well in those five

races and they find me and partnered up

with boy diabetes which we can talk more

about a minute but you know once we want

to be partnered up with Ross runway and

really diabetes you know that's really

what gave me the opportunity to start

racin full-time it's one of the most

with five levels so what was that

process like I mean you talked about

having never wavered as a kid flatout I

want to be a NASCAR driver that's it

that's what I want to focus on to

actually see that kind of come to

fruition what were or your feelings at

that time it sounds like it was just a

long time coming ever since the age of

four working on that goal but having

that initial five race contract what was

that feeling like when you kind of

realized this dream was

coming to pass as reality it's hard to

put words I think that anyone who's

like you grow up in this RV NASCAR

driver and I think people are like oh

that's cool do you want to do that but

no one ever really takes it serious I

think for a lot of reasons you're so

young but you don't know really know is

if you're any good at it right and then

also too even if you are really good at

it it's not even an especially for the

odd there's so many unbelievably

talented individuals at whatever sport

that don't make it they don't get to be

a professional football soccer NASCAR

Hawking you you know etc as you get

older as I got older and got you know in

my teens and obviously a lot of talks

too with my parents and they explained

to me hey you're choosing a really tough

road and this being outworked out you

know you have to mentally prepare

yourself this and you're willing to give

everything you have and you're willing

to dedicate your life to this and you're

dedicating your life to something that

there's a good chance that we won't

reach the level you want to that doesn't

mean that you believe that that just

means that that's better that you

recognize us the real possibility and my

dad always gave me a great perspective

on and it was just hey you have to truly

believe that you have the talent to be

one of the best and that you're going to

make it but also know the risk also to

you never when I was gonna have to go

out and race for every weekend you get

hurt and never drive a race car like

that just like any other sports it

taught me a lot throughout that time

about without commitment and dedication

and and it's helped me not not just my

professional and my racing career but in

other endeavors in my life that I want

just you know about about like I said

that commitment dedication it takes yeah

no I think that's an important message

because at the end of the day it's you

choose the direction of your life and

and like you said it can be scary to

kind of put all your eggs in that one

basket but if that's your passion you

have to go after it and by all accounts

your career was really accelerating

throughout those teen years we talked

about your chance getting a shot at

NASCAR and then kind of at a point where

you're fully in on on this dream you get

a diagnosis in 2011 and doctors didn't

think you'd be able to continue racing

with type 1 diabetes what was sort of

your gut reaction to that news having

having just been delta hand that buy a

lot of accounts and from a lot of

different doctors having them just say

you know what Ryan this career isn't

going to work out with type 1 diabetes

it was a lot of confusion that I didn't

know what type of diabetes well didn't

know when the Hat and

have any experience with it it wasn't

like I could I could even argue with the

doctor I mean I just had no knowledge of

it you know they flat-out told me you're

never going to race and you know my

first question when I got diagnosed was

how this can affect my racing and they

just said no but that's you know you

know the words were you have to focus

I'm living a normal life and when you

tell a kid who they're you know 17 at

the time you know ever since I was four

so I mean 13 years of my life of my 17

years I've been under the belief that I

was gonna drive race cars and so you

know when they say a normal life that

doesn't even better than make sense to

me because I'm like I don't know what a

normal life is I'm kind of racing and

trying to be a professional racecar

driver it was devastating you know and

it was you take a 17 year old and you

give them a disease they had no choice

you know they didn't didn't do anything

to get that you know they didn't they

didn't there's no responsibility to be

given there as to why they now have to

manage type 1 diabetes let stop that's

tough pill to swallow tough to get your

arms around so oh it was really tough

and it was a time in my life where I

thought it you know I was winning races

on the west coast getting ready to move

back North Carolina at 17 I was moving

out there on my own nonetheless so like

I'm getting ready to you know I mean

every seventeen-year-old right you can't

wait you like it spreading your wings

you're flying you getting out of the

parents house and it was a really

exciting time of my life

for so many reasons professionally and

personally and then that stop that was

over and you know I didn't know what was

next it was it you know every everything

that I looked forward to in life was put

on hold and you know it was us but I

mean I think the biggest thing that I

look back on that is in them in those

trying moments and in those tough times

I realized how great both my parents

were her nurse so supportive you know

and I think that you know a lot of times

is 17 years old you can take for granted

what you have certainly my parents

always had a good relationship I was

really close so is really I love my

parents but it were when when that all

went down I realized you know how

fortunate I was and we really you know

pulled together throughout that time and

you know those next couple months it was

it was really trying but we got through

it together I think you kind of

highlighted two really common threads

that have heard from other other

diabetic athletes number one is support

networks and I want to return to that

topic in a little bit here because I

think is a obviously a lot of overlap

between a diabetes support network and

and your support network as as a NASCAR

driver with your pit crew but I wanted

to go back to that initial feeling and

again I think this is another

commonality it's really not what most

people think when they think you know

what was your gut reaction to a

diagnosis like how angry were you were

frustrated or scared it's more just like

what is this thing I don't even know so

it's I wanted to get your take on how

did you kind of transition out of that

I've talked to a lot of other athletes

who said my kind of coping mechanism was

that I just dived in and I did as much

research as possible to try to figure

out how I could kind of beat this thing

and how I could regain control of my

life but how did you take that first

step back I read that you were back on

the race track within four months that's

incredibly impressive considering your

adult diagnosis at a really young age

talk about how you were able to take

those starting steps to get back where

you wanted to be on the race track yeah

I mean you hit the nail right on the

head it was driving myself into research

any athlete there's an been so bested in

their hair and their crafts or sports it

when that stops it turbo that most

athletes are pretty compulsive in a way

that you know they are all in you know

and that's what makes them great and I

don't think it was any different for

myself but I was also all-in and I

always sudden have this kind of

compulsiveness and I just said you know

what I'm just going to go understand

what what this is that what at least

understand why it's holding me back

from there it was a lot of research and

just you know reason about what diabetes

is and we're standing it another 10 you

know the just spins and outs of it and

then you know it was that was like you

know what let me read about happy to

diabetes because it's 2011 there's

someone out there doing something with

with diabetes that's when I started to

you know come across all these amazing

and super and that's when things I think

started to kind of turn the page for me

I didn't come across mean Astro drivers

and so there wasn't there wasn't that

element where I was like oh cool I get

to do this you know I mean here's a

story right here I didn't find that one

thing I can point you on my boat it's

all good now but I just I started to

quit being so negative I guess it was

like you know what there's all these

people doing amazing things just gave me

that little bit of that just a little

bit of hope

just keep digging and you know from

there through all that research and do

reading all these stories I heard I read

about an endocrinologist diabetes

specialist that worked with several

athletes she I grew up Baker California

about two hours north of LA and ensure

poor practices in Los Angeles and so we

reached out and she it was multiple

phone calls but finally after she heard

my story just you know just how you know

basically how much I needed to get in to

see her she she cleared a spot and got

me and shared a huge waiting list and

she got me in and December going in

there and you know still pretty dejected

and still pretty for the first time my

life I was shy guys just you know kind

of timid and never been that way in my

life and so I'm still doing with this

and I went to see her and I think she I

think she probably recognized that and

she was like you can listen to me and

everything I'm trying to do you know I'm

gonna take this very seriously but yes

yes yes I'm sure that okay we're gonna

get back into race car and I had been in

there I've been talking for five minutes

or 10 minutes and she said that and I

think that that's that was when it was

like a weight was lifted off my

shoulders I didn't know how I didn't

know how much my life is gonna change

didn't know all everything I wasn't have

to do to manage diabetes you know while

rates and all that yet as long as as

long as I had someone there to tell me I

could do it that's all in it that's all

the that's all that's all I needed to

know to be you know back in 110% and to

say this isn't going to stop me and I

think right there is when I realized you

know it changed so much more than just

me thing I get I can race car I change

my whole mindset towards towards disease

talk about what that moment was like

you've had this kind of dream and

passion taken away from you and then go

through the process of researching these

other athletes and then you get that

final validation that we're gonna we're

going to make this thing work was that

immediately inspiring but like

motivating to you where you fired up to

get back in the car

what was that moment like for you I

think that it was I mean I was really

excited but I think it was you know

because that that whole that whole

experience first time meeting and and

going through all that and so many

emotions but I think it was we come

because we immediately went to work it

wasn't I mean I was there for probably

three hours and it was getting me on

CGM i mean like that day like we're

gonna see GM we're going to

changed obviously my whole kind of

medication regiment out you know my

insulin regiment got me and I was

working with nutritionists that day it

was kind of a whirlwind that whole

experience and so ferocity oh I had so

much so many different emotions going on

throughout that throughout that

afternoon that it's hard to tell you one

thing but I think the the underlying all

was just I was so so relieved I mean it

was you know weight lifted off my

shoulders and felt like I could be

myself again and I did didn't I could

hope for things again and I think that

that's a big part of what what inspired

me not only 16 racing obviously I didn't

need a whole lot of help with that

because I was some love the sport but

it's what inspired me to want to make a

difference when I left at the doctor's

office that day I knew that I wanted you

know once I got back in a race car I

wanted to use the racing platform I

wanted to use my story and everything

that I had went through over those first

couple months of being diagnosed so to

tell people that we're going through the

same thing because I knew there's people

out there going through the same things

there's people being told they can't

when they absolutely can that's all that

changed I think that you know those were

those were some of the things that I

look back at and know that I left that

afternoon with that I didn't I didn't

walk in with so Ryan we talk a lot on

the podcast about utilizing support

networks and you certainly talked about

leaning on your parents during this time

leaning on certain endocrinologist

having grown up around pit crews and

sort of the teamwork associated with

competitive racing what was the

transition like to utilizing your

diabetes support network I think

sometimes at least in my own life as a

diabetic athlete when you have trainers

trying to help out sometimes you try to

take on the burden of diabetes alone and

it can be a process to open up and and

fully leverage those people what was the

the transition like to starting to

utilize your diabetes support network to

its fullest extent and were there

similarities and differences that you

could see between that support network

and the support network of say a pit

crew yeah absolutely the people I mean I

talked when I was first diagnosed you

know I mean I year your your diabetes

support network starts right away I mean

it's the first person you talk to after

you're diagnosed and I was obviously for

me my mom and dad and then you know you

talk about and my doctor you know and

and you taught and so you know for me it

was little diabetes that are really cool

little video series a while back where

they drew all these parallels about you

know my pit crew and then my diabetes

pit crew and thank you it's really

interesting because it puts in

perspective for me how important all

these people are because it doesn't

doesn't work like you know my diabetes

management doesn't work just like my

racing doesn't work with without each

individual and it's so so important you

know I mean like you know my neurologist

my doctor and she's the crew chief you

know she's the one making you know help

make all the decisions she's the one

giving me all the information I need

she's the one coming up with a game plan

and then you know I'm the driver I'm the

I'm the I'm the person who lives with

diabetes on the person who takes at home

and I'm the one who has to just like

when when the race starts I get in the

race car and everything we've done all

this setup all the engineering all the

everything we've done to that point

rests on me just like when I go home and

I have all the information I have all

the tools and resources and I'm the one

giving myself insulin injection I'm

going carb counting I'm the one - I'm

the one who actually has to implement

all that and so there's a ton of

similarities and you know you your your

diabetes support network is there's just

key you know it's key to your to your

success and your personal life is you

know I mean it's just working with you

you know I mean I've talked a lot about

it and you know a front people ask me

all the time like what's the advice you

can give and we know what do you have

for you success like what what helps you

it's a hundred thousand percent working

with my doctor and managing my diabetes

to the best of my ability because that's

that's the cornerstone to all of it I

mean we all know how how trust anyone

who's been affected by Typhon diabetes

whether it's you living with it or you

see a loved one living with it you know

how tough it is and you know how how

hard the the lows and highs literally

and figuratively are and if you if you

know on top of that and you're not

managing it obviously bad days I mean I

have I have plenty I had about a roller

coaster yesterday with my blood sugar

and those things are tough but you know

day in and day out you know strive to be

the to be the best at it that I can be

and and do the best job I can and that

makes a huge difference so I think one

of the most sort of uplifting and

exciting parts about diabetes treatment

and management right now in addition to

these support networks of people is the

technology that we have out to

can you talk a little bit about your

current management system and that I've

heard that you kind of have some cool

custom setups with like a dashboard CVM

but what are sort of some of the

technologies that you're leaning on

right now to help you with your diabetes

management yeah I said the the

technology side of diabetes has changed

the way that we live live with this

disease and now I've only had I've only

lived with it I mean that's the only but

like I live with type 1 diabetes for

seven years now there's people obviously

they've lived for 40 years with 50 years

with it and or more and but even even in

my seven years with diabetes I've seen

technology change infinitely I mean you

know I've used a CGM of user Dexcom

since the first time I went and saw and

Peter's and that was you know a key part

to me getting in the race car was was

having a CGM on on in my race car so you

know my blood Sugar's at all times and

to see how much the accuracies improved

to see now that you don't you don't even

I mean we you don't have to finger prick

anymore you know I mean that is


my fingertips are you know ecstatic

about that and I also use an app called

my sugar to help blog on my blood sugars

and they communicate and like it's just

crazy to see all that and then obviously

you know I and you so I still use pens

and phone pens and the main reason for

that is that if you sell hava race

carminative chicago health weeks ago it

was over 155 degrees in the car so

obviously keeping insulin at those

temperatures is not that's not realistic

so rather than change delivery methods

throughout the week consistency so

important for for what I do so I do

depend I use a pen all the time and but

I mean you know I mean I'm so aware and

know how much the pump technology has

changed how much has changed it was live

and so I mean you know I mean not not

just not just what I use but across the

board even the stuff that I don't use I

know it's making a huge difference

because lives to live with diabetes but

you know you talk about this uniqueness

of me having a CGI mama - we built a

really cool bracket but I actually just

slide my receiver my standard CGM

receiver into this bracket on the - and

I'll spec to all my gauges that you know

I mean with water temperature oil

pressure voltage

feel pressure etc etc that's a watch of

those anyway so I mean watch my blood

sugar is just just an extra extra gauge

but they did Dec Tom create you know

basically made one to where I can leave

the backlit backlight lit up so I don't

have to reach up and push the button it

stays lit next to all my gauges which

obviously being able to keep both hands

on the wheel at all times makes it makes

it a nice little difference equipped

with all this technology equipped with a

great support network you're going into

race day you're set to go walk us

through what a race day is actually like

what's the mindset going in and God

forbid a an issue does arise with your

blood sugar as you're racing sort of how

do you handle that and how does the team

adapt to a blood sugar being too high or

too low during a race yeah it's funny

you know we talked a lot about this and

me my friend Connor Daley who's actually

going to be my teammates this weekend it

wrote America for the first time he's

IndyCar driver he's had type 1 diabetes

and I've and race Indy car for a number

of years now and we've talked so much

about this nothing but each other

obviously and then also we've done a lot

of media talking about this and our race

day regiment is really strict I mean it

but our regiment for managing diabetes

starts I mean I'm going through things

today that'll make a difference you know

what you're talking about

diet exercise gym you know and obviously

you know my bullet thing in Basil's and

all that everything I do today is gonna

is going to make a difference come

racing and that's going to play a key

role in making sure that I don't have a

diabetes related incident while I'm on

the race track but that being said we

obviously all plan for the worst hope

for the best and so my doctor and I both

worked really hard on coming up with a

system and so obviously we have a drink

inside the car and have a drink inside

my truck if I'm driving on the road and

have a low blood sugar so obviously I

have a drink to treat a low blood sugar

if need be inside the race car and so

that's the first thing that you know I

think it's pretty pretty standard and

then also to one thing that is not

standard that is unique and if you look

at my fire suit you know obviously

you're going to see Willy diabetes you

can see drive down a1c calm on the fire

so you're going to see all the sponsors

I'm you threaten white but then they

also you're gonna see a yellow and red

targets on the left leg of my fire sues

the stands

a lot and no driver has a bull's-eye on

their fire suit but that's actually

where to indicate where I would need an

insulin Jackson during a race if my

blood sugar is too high and so we have a

guy trained on a pit crew to go over the

wall and we could get four tires fuel

and insulin if need be

in the middle of race and I don't never

had to do that it's more of a safety net

it's not a percent of safety net but we

practiced it we know what's doing that

in that situation and we have two-way

radios that I can communicate that to to

my team if I'm if I need that and so you

know that that's probably the most

unique thing in our sport as far as

someone you know a system in place to

help me because I have diabetes my

understanding is that some of these

races are you know multiple our events

were you like what we talked about

earlier have to be really turned on

mentally is it is it common to not kind

of like refuel with a snack or something

like that at some point during the race

because it sounds like you're trying to

really avoid taking on any insulin

during the race um it is I mean I think

a lot of guys do that where the it will

eat us eat a snack you know eat

something throughout the race to to help

you know replenish you know

carbohydrates and proteins and stuff but

you know I think that that I have to

really make sure that I do a good job of

my nutrition before the race yeah and

you know that was the main thing that we

you know a doctor wanted to make sure is

that you know I didn't want me to the

show competes to compete we wanted me to

contend and win races and be one of the

best you know and that takes you know

training like an athlete eating like

that but doing everything that athlete

does and obviously you know you come to

a you know point where you just some

conflict obviously managing diabetes and

you know you said you're an athlete and

so you know how tough it can be you know

I mean carbohydrates and diabetes don't

always mix well and carbohydrates are

energy source and so are a big part of

our energy source yeah I mean it

certainly is tough and and that's not to

say that I don't because I do have that

drange and I will drink I will I will

have some of that drinks out the race

but it's just got to be a camp obviously

can't be too much because I'm not

planning on taking any insulins out the

race but obviously before the

when I still can't take influence I I

mean I've carve up I you know you lean

proteins and lots of vegetables and

healthy fat stuff like that that you

know I mean are going to are going to

give me the energy that I need to to get

through that race the pre rate not it's

not just pre-race meal but you know the

night before a couple days before

keeping making sure that I am you know I

have the nutrients that I need to be not

just get through the race but to be

contender is I mean that's one of the

biggest parts of it I think a big part

about being diabetic athlete is being

aware of what you can control and then

like you said you're planning for the

worst and hoping for the best you know

my football career was like I can

control what I can control right up

until about the first whistle and then

it's you know everything that I've done

in the preceding week that will

hopefully empower me to be able to go

out and perform at a high level but I

think we touched on an important note

earlier about even for the most dialed

in diabetic athlete they're going to be

some highs and lows and I wanted to ask

you Ryan if you could send out a message

to a diabetic that's struggling out

there right now perhaps they were just

diagnosed or perhaps are just going

through a particularly rough patch and

their diabetes treatment what would your

message be to that person and why I

think you know the first thing I would

say and we've talked about is lean on

the lean on the people around you you

know and for me that was a lot my

parents and and a lot my doctor you know

I mean so I talked about it before you

know and gods in the research knowledge

is so empowering especially for people

living with diabetes you know I mean

once you once you feel like you

understand what's going on once you it's

so empowering and so just try and take

control of the disease you know I mean I

think that once you even though a lot of

days that you feel like you have control

over your diabetes and you feel like you

know exactly what to do and nothing goes

right just try your best to take control

your diabetes and and working with your

doctor can be so crucial to doing that

but then also - yep and I know this is

simple and cliche and all that but just

don't give up you know I mean yeah I was

you know obviously told to give up and

and you know and there's a lot of days

you know that you feel like you want to

it's just not I mean like this is so

difficult and you know this is just

unbelievably hard

and so it does seem I giving up would be

a lot easier but that's that's obviously

that's not going to get you to worry

that's not going to get you to achieve

your dreams and goals and soso work you

know as hard as you can and as people

living with diabetes and as athletes

with living with diabetes

we're probably have to work a little

harder than than than everyone else but

that's okay when you achieve your goal

and I know you know for me it all kind

of came to kinda came to a peak with a

when I won at Daytona in the NASCAR

Xfinity Series for the first time and I

you know that was like it was a

culmination of every single thing that I

went through it was like man this was

worth it this was worth all the you know

sleepless nights and all the difficult

times you know the tears the everything

if you can you know my message is if you

can do your absolute best at every and

work work hard then you know I can

promise you that those efforts will be

paid off I think on that topic of

support and not giving up and we talked

about how you felt the urge to kind of

give back to the diabetic community

after you were given the news that hey

we're going to get you back in a race

car after your diagnosis you personally

have started an initiative called Ryan's

mission would you talk to us a little

bit about what that experience was like

and what some of your experiences have

been in trying to serve the broader

diabetic community yeah you know I

talked about you know when I was at my

doctor's office and I was for the first

time you know felt empowered to go chase

my dreams again that I wanted to get

back and you know started just with I

just want to I just want to put up a

website and just share my story just I

mean nothing crazy just you know here's

what happened to me and hopefully today

we can find some you know inspiration in

it and find some fun some light in my

story so we put it up and we we called

it Ryan's mission you know obviously was

just Ryan's mission was to tell my story

in to help hopefully you know help some

other people and we got an amazing

response to it I was I wasn't racing in

NASCAR at the time I was just racing

developmental series and so I I didn't

have a following I didn't I didn't have

you know I mean I didn't have fans or

anything but if I had people that were

reading this and sharing it on Facebook

and stuff and I had a you know people

reaching out to me and want this come

meet me and you know kids you know they

wanted me know parents wanted me to tell


is the story in you know I started

working with JDRF and a DA and you know

all the you know different different

organizations that you know obviously

surround diabetes and that was that was

kind of how it was all born and so I

never thought that it would it would

grow into what it is today and certainly

once he wants that partnered up fully

diabetes and obviously once I got to in

a NASCAR the platform and the scale grew

so much and we were able to do so much

more I mean like I said we're on a plane

every week and go into different markets

we try to use that you know whether it's

Children's Hospital diabetes summer

camps and acknowledge this office visits

or just as simple as there's a fan at

the track that you know they're there

with their parents and they're the

others race fans and they you know that

they heard my story and they they just

want to meet me and so just go take 15

minutes other day to go hang out with

but a kid who lives with diabetes and

those those moments those those impacts

they're what I mean they they far they

far outweigh the what I get to do is you

know as far as strapping a race car you

know I mean that's cool and all but

after being diagnosed and after going

through what I've gone through that

those five or ten minutes they had to

spend with a kid who lives the diabetes

defines inspiration my story those those

are what I think about I know what I

will think about what my career is all

said and done that's amazing yeah I

think what's particularly unique about

your stories to have that drive to give

back at such a young age I think a

common thread again with with diabetics

is we're dealing with a chronic disease

that can be really invisible if you want

it to be so as an athlete when you have

that platform it almost takes the

mindset that you need to be active and

demonstrative with your treatment to

show people that like hey I am dealing

with this chronic illness because if you

went through you know just a normal day

doing injections here and there maybe go

to the bathroom to do an injection

people might not know that you're a

diabetic so I experienced the same thing

in football even up to my senior year I

was doing injections and guys would come

up to me that I'd been playing with for

four years and say what are you doing

I'd say I'm a I'm a diabetic I said I

didn't know that we all as diabetics

bear an obligation to to be active in

terms of you know how we manage our

disease so that we can try to be an

inspiration for others because we all

have a platform whether we know it or


to some extent so I think what you're

doing with Ryan

mission is awesome we can see we wish

the best in you Google for work and

continue with the service of the broader

diabetic community so Ryan what's next

we want to know what are your future

goals as a not only as a NASCAR driver

but as a diabetic yeah obviously you

know as an athlete and yeah I want to be

the best racecar driver can be I wanna

win full races only 1 championships and

I just want to continue to be the best

race car driver it can be in container

we all we all get better at whatever

we're doing every time every day every

day we work at it we get a little better

and so just continue that and try and

continue to get to the next level which

is obviously the Cup Series and NASCAR

and just continue my work you know and

I've been so fortunate to be partnered

up fully diabetes who's you know been

extreme you know mirrored my passion

making an impact and continue to work

with them and continue to find new ways

to to to make that impact and and

obviously that's going to be something

that does it doesn't go away regardless

of where my career goes if if I soft

racing tomorrow um you know I just give

me that much more time to invest in

making that difference and so I don't

know exactly what's next there and I

think that you know for today it's just

continue what I'm doing you know

hopefully being able to continue to find

new ways in more meaningful ways to make

that to make that impact yeah you know I

think it's been it's been a mazing 7

years especially over the last five

years when you know racing racing

profession in racing full-time you know

we've been able to obviously achieve a

lot of my goals and dreams but with Mike

I said earlier what's been more

meaningful than that is then to see the

impact that this program is meant system

and made in people's lives but to see

how much it meant to so many people just

it just motivates me that much more to

keep going into community make a bigger

difference amazing stuff it's awesome

work well Ryan we will let you go we'll

be looking for you out on the race track

thank you so much for coming on the

podcast man I appreciate it yeah

absolutely thanks everyone my name is

Ryan Reid I have type on diabetes and I

have a game plan


we hope you enjoyed this episode of the

game plan to you indie podcast for

related content please visit