Tyler Reddick celebrates a ‘need to have’ runner-up finish at Darlington

Tyler Reddick had to settle for second after losing the lead due to a caution.


Tyler Reddick celebrates a ‘need to have’ runner-up finish at Darlington

Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing (Credits: IMAGO)

As the dust settled on the opening race of the NASCAR Playoffs, 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick trailed Kyle Larson for the victory at Darlington. Despite the result, Reddick expressed his satisfaction with his runner-up finish at the Darlington race and had a strong performance throughout the event, battling several drivers for the lead.

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Reddick pursued victory as Denny Hamlin led, closely followed by Larson. A twist occurred as Reddick headed for pit road, and Ryan Newman‘s caution forced him to abort the pit stop. This fortunate break for Larson allowed him to stay out, witnessing Newman’s spin and take the lead. Larson, the 2021 Cup Series champion, secured the Southern 500 win, automatically advancing to the next NASCAR playoffs round. Conversely, Hamlin’s loose wheel issue dashed his hopes of victory despite leading for most of the race.

Speaking about his chances to catch Larson, Reddick mentioned, “Maybe just a little bit longer run. It had just gotten short enough to where you didn’t have to save a whole lot (on tires).” He acknowledged that he and Larson were closely matched for most of the race, with Larson’s pit stop advantage making the difference. 

Reddick expressed gratitude for his team’s hard work and considered the second-place finish a significant achievement, especially given the competitive nature of the race. It was also a good day in terms of earning championship points. He said to Motorsport.com, “But all in all, this is the day that we needed to have.”

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Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace
Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace (Credits: Whiskey Riff)

The top 7 finishers included playoff drivers, with Bubba Wallace, Reddick’s teammate at 23XI Racing, securing the seventh spot. This strengthened the team’s prospects for both drivers to advance to round 2 of the playoffs, enhancing their chances for a double entry into the next stage. Reddick acknowledged this by saying, “It was a really good points day on top of that, as well.”

In the closing laps, Reddick faced a tough balance between challenging Larson and maintaining control of his car. He struggled with a loose car, almost losing control in Turns 1 and 2 multiple times. Despite the temptation to push harder, he opted for caution, saying, “It just didn’t make sense in my head, so we’ll take the second place.” He hoped for another shot at the Southern 500 in the future.

In conclusion, Tyler Reddick’s second-place finish at Darlington was a testament to his team’s hard work and ability to contend with the best in NASCAR. While victory eluded him, he recognized the importance of this strong performance in the playoff standings and the accumulation of valuable championship points. It may not have been the win he desired, but it was the day he and his team “needed to have.”

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