Originally from Portland, Oregon, United States, Gordon Reid began his career at age twenty-two racing midget cars at the Carrell Speedway in Gardena, Los Angeles, CA.
He later moved to racing roadsters in the CRA - California Racing Association. In 1949 he moved East with Jack Beckley to join the AAA midget championship.
In 1951 Reid attempted but failed to qualify for his first Indy 500 in a Chevrolet-engined Silnes. Later that year he began racing sprint cars. The following year it was at the wheel of a sprint car that he would suffer a fatal accident at the Dayton Speedway.
The crash, in which two spectators and a security guard also lost their lives, might have been caused by a missing steering key pin in Reid's car. A few witnesses said that just before the crash they saw Reid holding onto the steering wheel which had come loose from its column.