Despite DNF, Tyler Reddick impresses in NASCAR Cup debut at Phoenix

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 08: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 I Am Second Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 08, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Tyler Reddick’s No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet wasn’t running at the finish of Sunday’s FanShield 500, but the top finishers in the NASCAR Cup Series event certainly knew he had been there.

Reddick started 29th in a field of 38, but by the time the second stage ended on Lap 190, he had worked his way up to fourth, having passed Kyle Busch for the position. But after a two-tire call and a second-place restart on Lap 222, Reddick was shuffled back in the running order.

A flat tire on Lap 265 sent him rocketing into the Turn 2 wall and ended a promising race for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender.

“Well, we lost a tire there in (Turns) 1 and 2,” said Reddick, who was racing at Phoenix in the Cup Series for the first time. “I really don’t know what led to that. I don’t know if I just caught something on the race track or it just wasn’t meant to be. Our Chevrolet was really, really good today. I just made a couple of mistakes there that cost us track position.

“I don’t know if that’s what ultimately would have kept us from cutting a tire, but we were in really good shape there, and I just made a rookie mistake and fell back to the back half of the top 10, and from there we had our flat tire, and that was the end of our day, unfortunately.”

Greg Engle