Reddick wins pole at Vegas, talks about his early move to 23XI

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 3Chi Chevrolet, poses for photos after winning the pole award during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 15, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Tyler Reddick earned his third pole position of the season Saturday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His Richard Childress Racing No. 8 Chevrolet will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 Playoff race (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The 26-year old Californian’s lap of 184.603 mph knocked fellow Chevy driver William Byron from the pole position and then Team Penske rookie Austin Cindric finished the session by grabbing the outside pole position on the final qualifying lap of the 10 cars that advanced to second round.

Reddick also topped qualifying at the Indianapolis Road Course and then at Texas Motor Speedway just three weeks ago. The three pole-tally is a career best for the third-year NASCAR Cup Series driver. Only hours before qualifying, Reddick was named to drive the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota next year.

“It’s pretty awesome,’’ a smiling Reddick said of the day’s work.

Interestingly, in the 29 races held to date at the track, no driver has ever won the Las Vegas race starting from the pole position. Kyle Busch was the race winner and polesitter in 2009, but technically he did not actually start from pole position, having to move to the rear of the starting grid after an engine change.

Asked about the difficulty of turning a pole position into a win here, Reddick was surprised to learn the statistic as well.

“Hopefully we’ll change that tomorrow,’’ said Reddick, who did win a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas in 2019.

“I think the track just changes a lot from practice to qualifying,’’ Reddick added, “For us, when we’ve started on the pole or we started toward the front on these mile-and-a-halves, we’ve had a lot of speed and we just unfortunately had some things not go our way.’’

Byron will start third, alongside Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, who boasted the fastest lap in practice. Blaney’s teammate Joey Logano, Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, Wood Brothers’ Harrison Burton, 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace and Reddick’s RCR teammate Austin Dillon rounded out the top-10 on the starting grid.

Only four of the eight Playoff contenders – Byron, Blaney, Logano and Bell – advanced into the final round of qualifying. The other four Playoff drivers will start a bit farther back, including Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain, who will roll off 11th. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe starts 16th with 2020 champion Chase Elliott 20th and JGR’s Denny. Hamlin, 31st in the 36-car field.

Brad Keselowski, who leads all current drivers with three Vegas victories, will start the No. 6 Roush Fenway Keselowski Ford from 25th.

In his post qualifying press conference, Reddick seemed very nonchalant about his upcoming team transition – insisting that he personally had very little to do with any of the recent negotiations between Richard Childress Racing and 23XI Racing to move his tenure up a year to 2023.

“Their discussions, I had no part of, it was directly between 23XI and RCR,’’ Reddick said. “It was between those two and they came to an agreement and worked it out so that I get started a year early.

“Unfortunately, Kurt’s situation is what brought this opportunity about, which is a tough thing. It’s tough and I really hate to see that for him. But he’s a team player and I’ve seen that in his time outside the car.’’

“To be honest I never really felt like I was in limbo,’’ said Reddick, who was poised to run as part of a three-car RCR operation next year after the team signed two-time series champion Kyle Busch to drive the No. 8 that Reddick has steered for the past three seasons.

“Whichever direction it would go, I knew I’d be excited about,’’ Reddick added. “And it ended up going in a direction I get to start a year early with Toyota and 23XI.’’