Desperate times call for desperate measures. And for Tyler Reddick his playoff hopes were becoming desperate. That was until Sunday.
Reddick finally put a race together Sunday and after five second place finishes in 92 starts won his first career Cup race beating Chase Elliott at Road America.
The key to his win came after a final round of green flag stops on lap 43. Elliott led Reddick into the pits, and it was Elliott who won a close race between the two coming out in 10th. Reddick stayed close however, and when Elliott missed the apex of Turn 5 on lap 44 Reddick was able to grab the spot.
“Well, I definitely knew he was fast,” Reddick said. “But we could stay with him on the long run, which told me if we cycled through that last — that pit sequence, we’d be close or get around him, we’d have a great shot. Didn’t quite get around him. We were within reach. Thankfully just waited for the right opportunity and was able to take advantage of it in Turn 6.”
When the green flag stops cycled through by lap 47, Reddick had the lead of the race.
“I thought he was going to run me back down,” Reddick said. “I started to make some mistakes, started to take care of the brakes; apparently, I didn’t need to. Yeah, very good shape there. What a day.”
Prior to that it was Elliott’s day. Last year’s winner started on the pole and led 36 laps giving up the top spot only for pit stops just prior to the end of the Stages. The beneficiaries of that strategy were Chase Briscoe who won Stage 1, and Ryan Blaney Stage 2.
Elliott was still able to finish 10th in both stages.
“Obviously, it was super difficult to get to somebody to pass them,” Elliott said. “It was impressive he was able to get up there and capitalize on my mistakes. Happy for those guys. Appreciate the effort out of our team. Wish I could have done a better job there. I felt like we probably needed a little bit, but I think we were good enough to win, so those always hurt.”
In a race that had no natural cautions, only the two for the stage breaks, the lack of yellows led to long green flag runs that stretched the field out. Until Reddick took the lead Elliott had a lead of up to just over 6 seconds at times.
After the final round of stops, it was only Reddick and Elliott at the front of the field. Kyle Larson who was third was 21 seconds behind the top two. Trackhouse Racing teammates Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top five.
With his win, Reddick joined Chastain and Suarez not only as first-time winners, but first-time winners on road courses this season: Chastain won at COTA; Suarez at Sonoma. There have also now been five first time winners in NASCAR’s Cup series this season; the first time that’s happened since 1950.
Chris Buescher was sixth, Austin Cindric seventh, with Michael McDowell, AJ Allmendinger and Kevin Harvick completed the top 10.
It was another week of struggles for Toyota; Martin Truex Jr. was the highest finishing Toyota in 13th.
For Reddick the pressure of making NASCAR’s Playoffs has been eased. After spending much of the season just above the cut line, Reddick and his Richard Childress Racing team came into Road America 31 points below that line. Now, with his first win, and the first for his crew chief Randall Burnett, the team is solidly in the Playoffs.
“Yeah, Randall has been working at this for a very long time, and he’s always believed in me,” Reddick said. “Everyone on this team at Richard Childress Racing has believed in me. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, but man, this year has been one step, one mistake away from greatness all year long, and we finally did it today, it feels good.”
NASCAR heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend. The Cup series races on Sunday with Kurt Busch as the defending winner. William Byron won there this past March.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 3, 2022
NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Kwik Trip 250 Presented by JOCKEY Made in America
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Sunday, July 3, 2022
1. (4) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 62.
2. (1) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 62.
3. (3) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 62.
4. (12) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 62.
5. (17) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 62.
6. (7) Chris Buescher, Ford, 62.
7. (5) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 62.
8. (6) Michael McDowell, Ford, 62.
9. (21) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 62.
10. (28) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 62.
11. (19) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 62.
12. (8) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 62.
13. (15) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 62.
14. (2) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 62.
15. (10) Cole Custer, Ford, 62.
16. (29) William Byron, Chevrolet, 62.
17. (14) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 62.
18. (16) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 62.
19. (33) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 62.
20. (30) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 62.
21. (9) Joey Hand, Ford, 62.
22. (23) Harrison Burton #, Ford, 62.
23. (22) Kurt Busch, Toyota, 62.
24. (34) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 62.
25. (32) Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 62.
26. (27) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 62.
27. (18) Joey Logano, Ford, 62.
28. (24) Aric Almirola, Ford, 62.
29. (13) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 62.
30. (37) Kyle Tilley, Ford, 61.
31. (20) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Brakes, 60.
32. (31) Cody Ware, Ford, 59.
33. (11) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 58.
34. (35) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 57.
35. (25) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, Brakes, 54.
36. (26) Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 52.
37. (36) Loris Hezemans(i), Ford, Fuel Pump, 9.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 96.622 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 35 Mins, 51 Secs. Margin of Victory: 3.304 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 2 for 2 laps.
Lead Changes: 8 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Elliott 1-12;C. Briscoe 13-16;C. Elliott 17-28;R. Blaney 29-31;C. Elliott 32-43;R. Blaney 44;D. Hamlin 45;H. Burton # 46;T. Reddick 47-62.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Chase Elliott 3 times for 36 laps; Tyler Reddick 1 time for 16 laps; Ryan Blaney 2 times for 4 laps; Chase Briscoe 1 time for 4 laps; Harrison Burton # 1 time for 1 lap; Denny Hamlin 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 14,2,48,22,45,21,23,43,31,9
Stage #2 Top Ten: 12,15,42,45,43,31,21,23,9,8