TALK IT UP TUESDAY: Reedy Race champion Ryan Maifield
Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 01:56pm
By Aaron Waldron
By Aaron Waldron
To win the Reedy Race of Champions is a very special accomplishment, and marks a significant highlight in the careers of the short list of drivers who have achieved the feat. When Ryan Maifield crossed the finish line in his final 4WD heat on Sunday evening, capping off an incredible weekend in which he won half his races and finished lower than third only once (a fourth), he may have appreciated it more than anyone else. Not only did he come painstakingly close last year, leading all the way up until the last round, but the title closes a loop in Ryan's life that began in his youth, with Mike Reedy picking him out of the crowd as an Open class racer. Here's what Ryan had to say about winning the biggest race of his career:
Aaron Waldron: Now that it’s been a full day since winning your first Reedy Race title, has the accomplishment sunk in completely?
Ryan Maifield:I don't think it has completely sunk in. I do know that it isn't easy to win that race and I've been close a few times. To get it done after a few heart-breaking years, especially with last year being so close, it makes me really appreciate this win.
AW: What was different about this Reedy Race than your previous four opportunities to win?
RM: I’ve gone into the last few Reedy Races with a plan of attack, and each round I would look at who I was racing and come up with a strategy of how I was gonna pick my way through the field. Doing that was a stressful process, and since it didn't pan out to a victory it was a heart breaking process as well. This year I had no plan. I didn't look at who I was racing, I just played the cards I was dealt. I was way more relaxed and I had a lot more fun all weekend - after all, that's what the Reedy Race is all about.
AW: Did you know when Jared Tebo finished third in his final round that you were mathematically guaranteed the overall championship?
RM: I had been told that before the last round, but I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I knew if I just went out and drove the way I had been all weekend I could win that last race, and then it wouldn't matter where anyone else finished.
AW: You started eighth in your final round, and had a rough first lap - crossing the finish line in eighth, over three seconds behind the leader. Did you think you had a chance to win?
RM: Like I said earlier - you have to play the cards your dealt at the Reedy Race. I knew the last race was going to be a difficult one, and after that bad start I just let it all hang out. In my mind I had the best car, so why not end the weekend with a win?
AW: One of the first people to greet you after walking of the drivers’ stand was Brent Thielke, your team manager for the last decade at Team Associated. What did he say to you?
RM: Yeah, he was - and it shows the kind of character Brent has, being able to put business aside for a minute and be happy for a friend who had accomplished something very difficult. He knows how much that race means to me, and losing last year’s race the way I did, I think it hurt him more than it did me. I'm not sure what he said because it was loud, but I could tell he was happy and proud of me.
AW: Where does this win rank on the list of races you’ve won?
RM: I think this has to be at the top of the list. I've won a lot of races and, honestly, without the Reedy Race I might not have had any of the opportunities I've had in this industry. I was discovered by Mike Reedy at the Reedy Race many years ago racing in the Open class, and to bring it full circle and win the Invitational class is something I can't put into words.