Ryan Reed voices frustration with Aric Almirola after early Talladega crash

Nigel Kinrade/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Ryan Reed’s hopes of following up his win in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway with a second restrictor-plate win came to a frustrating end on Saturday as an early crash eliminated the Roush Fenway Racing driver at Talladega Superspeedway.

Reed was running inside of the top 10 during the middle stages of the Sparks Energy 300 when an attempted draft from Aric Almirola on the backstretch went awry, sending Reed’s No. 16 Ford sailing into the outside wall of the 2.66-mile oval.

Almirola took blame for the accident under the ensuing caution flag, telling his team: “I’m sorry. I was just trying to give him a push. I just caught him on the left-rear quarter. That was my bad.”

While Almirola continued on, Reed was eliminated from the event, beset by heavy damage from the accident. Upon leaving the infield care center, the Californian voiced his frustrations about Almirola’s driving.

“We had a really fast car, so that made the racing a lot more fun for us, but with this low downforce you’re really at other people’s mercy on how they push you,” Reed said.  “Aric got careless there and he took the blame for it, but I think it being Saturday and him not racing here that often he was a little more careless.  I don’t think if it was Dale Jr. or somebody he races with every week in front of him that he would have done that, so I wish he would have taken a little more time, especially that early on, and give us a little more respect because we do race in the series every week.  We’re racing for a championship and he’s not, and feel like he owes us that respect, so I’m frustrated.”

Reed ultimately finished 29th. Almirola used a late pass to claim the victory, his third in NASCAR XFINITY Series competition.

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