Drag Illustrated Issue 115, November 2016 | Page 83

30 UNDER 30

30 UNDER 30



‘ I started

two brothers Junior Dragsters and that ’ s
drag racing Jr . Dragsters when I was eight like a lot of people out there ,” Reed said . “ My dad [ Pro Mod racer Jim Whiteley ] bought me and my
what we did every weekend at the local racetracks .”
The Grand Junction , Colorado-native reminisced about how they would drive an hour and a half one way so he and his brothers could race . Additionally , Jim would race a 1969 Camaro in Super Pro and his mom [ Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Annie Whiteley ] would drive a 1969 Camaro Z28 in Pro .
“ When I turned 14 , I decided to stop racing Junior Dragsters because I realized they weren ’ t going fast enough for me anymore ,” he admitted .
Reed transitioned to motocross and eventually advanced to the professional level .
“ We had dirt bikes for one summer when I was ten and it scared the crap out of my mom ,” he laughed . “ We did one or two races and she was over it . We sold all the dirt bikes and went back to drag racing but when I got older , I got back on the dirt bikes and raced until I was 21 .”
After a handful of very serious injuries racing professionally in motocross , Reed ’ s mom pleaded that he hang up his motocross gear and trade it in for some drag racing leathers ; that was where Reed was introduced to George Bryce ’ s racing school . In 2015 , he began his Pro Stock Motorcycle journey on the crew of three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle World Champion Angelle Sampey ’ s bike learning the ins and outs of NHRA professional drag racing . Reed competed in his first season in the NHRA at the beginning of 2016 .
“ I ’ ve learned a lot in my first year in Pro Stock Motorcycle ,” he said . “ I ’ m learning there is a lot of politics in our class but it ’ s probably like that in all of the other professional classes too . I feel like I ’ ve always been a racer in my mind and now I ’ m learning the business side of it too . My rookie season taught me that it ’ s not just about being a racer anymore . A lot of it is about business and it has taught me to pay
attention to every aspect of what I have going on at the races .”
In his 2016 rookie season , Reed participated in the full 16-race season . He had 12 round wins during the season which was more round wins than the rest of the rookie of the year candidates
combined ; he went on to appear in two semifinals and one final .
“ We definitely struggled for a few races with those DNQ ’ s but it also was good to have those moments early in my career ,” Reed said . “ I feel like I know what it feels like to DNQ and I know how to deal with it in the future .”
The icing on the cake was when Cory Reed won NHRA ’ s Auto Club Road to the Future Rookie of the Year Award during the year-end NHRA Mello Yello Series awards banquet at The Dolby Theater in a room of hundreds of his racing peers .
“ Being the Rookie of the Year this season was awesome ,” he added . “ It was our main goal of the year besides winning a race . We didn ’ t win a race this season but that ’ ll come in time . It ’ s nice to have people believe in you and think you ’ ll go beyond your first year . There ’ s a lot of racers that only last a year or two and then they ’ re done . It ’ s nice to have people that I don ’ t know personally believe in me too .”
Despite a few-year hiatus from the drag racing scene , Reed has proved that his talent on the 1320 ’ is no fluke . With the support of his family , he knows drag racing is where he ’ s meant to be .
“ I ’ ve been in drag racing , out of drag racing , and now I ’ m back ,” Reed said . “ I ’ m glad I made the decision to come back to drag racing because I have my whole family out here and I know a lot of people out here that are practically family too . Drag racing is more of a family-oriented thing for us .”
“ To be Rookie of the Year and be nominated for the 30 Under 30 is just awesome ,” Reed exclaimed . “ It ’ s nice to be recognized and for people to believe you have a good future in the sport . Knowing that helps me with my confidence as a racer and I think I ’ m headed in the right direction . It ’ s awesome !” – SADIE FLOYD DI
November 2016
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