Racer X: You wanted to get up there and race with James, and you had an opportunity tonight, so talk about those first couple laps when you were trying to pass him. Chad Reed: Yeah, at the beginning, I felt like I had some great lines, and some good pace. I was just trying to, you know, get around him, almost, because I felt like he was kind of easing up to his pace, and I felt like I was right at it, and I wanted to get out front. I knew it was important to get in front of him and not have to eat sand. I think I got a little frustrated there. I just couldn’t do anything. I just had to play follow the leader, and that sand was really frustrating!
A couple laps in, he did that jump from the dragon back over the next jump, then tripled out. You didn’t do it that lap, but you did the next lap...
Yeah, we had Press Day this week, and we rode that part of the track, so I had it up my sleeve for the main event, and I didn’t do it all day long. I was going to pull the trigger in the main, and then I was watching my video back in the bus, and I noticed he went for it on the last lap of the heat race, so I was kind of like, “Dang it! He stole my idea!” But, you know, I knew I had to go for it. It was a tough jump. You had to be real patient because there was a rut there, and basically I was just in first gear, and you just idle around it and then pull the trigger. It was so much faster! The two of us, as soon as we started doing that, we were gone.
You sound a little frustrated about the sand section. What does it do to the racing that makes them so bad?
Sand’s awesome, I think. Sand is one of my most favorite things to ride in – Southwick, Millville, and going back to my days in Europe. I grew up riding in the sand. I like it, so don’t get me wrong, but the promoters... I question what they think sometimes, you know? The frustrating thing is that the Dirt Wurx guys are working their tails off, and giving us great tracks, and these guys at Feld are making calls that are just kind of silly, I think. I guess that’s why it’s called “Entertainment” and not “Motor Sports” any more – we’re just entertainers out here. We’re not really racing. So, as long as it looks good on TV, and sand’s flying, it’s fine, I guess.
What about the whoops following the sand? The sand robs your momentum, then you’re into big stadium whoops.
That’s hard, but the main thing is... You should go over there and take a picture and let the fans see what it is. You’ll see one V’d out line in the whoops, and there’s just one inside line coming out of the turn. Whether it’s a lapper or somebody the caliber of James Stewart, it’s impossible to make anything happen. Whoops are something that I think separate the men from the boys, and I believe that when you come out and carry a lot of speed through them, you can kind of change up your lines, and it makes it fun racing, and fun for the people sitting in the stands. But we’re out here entertaining for the TV and making dirt fly.
Is this a math game to you now?
No, it’s just week to week. I want to win races, and I believe I can, and tonight I was frustrated, because I felt like I was good at the beginning, and then kind of rode a little bit mad and frustrated that I couldn’t pass him, and he found his groove, and I was left frustrated and not making good choices with the lappers. I think I kind of lost my cool a little bit tonight, and I wasn’t able to ride smooth and calm like I have been.
Is part of that because you’ve tasted victory the last couple of weeks in a row?
Yes and no. Gosh, I went seven weeks in a row finishing second...
But you smiled on those podiums, and you didn’t smile today...
Yeah, I was faking it in those podiums, I guess! I mean, I’m happy. You’ve got to be consistent, and if this is my worst finish, then hey, it’s the next-best thing, so there’s nothing that you can do, and like I said, he rode a great race. I’m not taking anything away from him, I just felt like I need to ride my own race and ride my lines, and walk away happy knowing I gave it everything I had.
Your birthday is coming up, and your family came over for this race, and for your birthday. Can you tell us what that means to you?
It means a lot. Ellie surprised me on Wednesday night when we flew in here, and they all showed up, and I was really surprised to see them all here. It’s been nine years since I’ve celebrated a birthday with my family, so it’s going to be fun. We’re going to hang out here tomorrow [in New Orleans], and it’s kind of frustrating, really, because I’m still mad about the race, and I don’t want to be mad while they’re here!