To say Tyler Reddick earned it, would be putting it very mildly indeed. Reddick survived two laps of a wild double overtime finish Sunday to score his second career NASCAR Cup victory and his second of 2022 taking the win on the Indianapolis Road Course.
Reddick led a race high 38 laps and had a lead of 3.5 seconds with 6 laps to go, but Christopher Bell’s Toyota blew a tire leaving a trail of debris along the Indy frontstretch forcing NASCAR to throw the race’s only second caution for an incident.
On the first restart, Reddick led the field into Turn 1 which had been ‘calamity corner’ all race long. Behind him a three wide battle for second broke out with Chase Elliott, who had been second prior to the caution, getting spun by Ryan Blaney. That set off a chain reaction that carried over to Turn 3 when deeper in the field Erik Jones was sent into Austin Dillon whose Chevy ended up struck in the gravel forcing NASCAR to display the yellow.
On what turned out to be the final restart, Reddick again led, but Ross Chastain charged past Turn 1 and entered an access road. He would emerge just behind Riddick by Turn 4, and briefly grab the lead.
Reddick said when he saw Chastain, he was worried.
“I was like, uh-oh. But that was a scenario that had been talked about,” Reddick said. “If you get bottled up, what do you do? Take the access road.
“I couldn’t believe he got ahead of me. I was kind of waiting to see if he was going to have a penalty because I didn’t want to move him out of the way and make his race worse than what it was. “
Rather than wait Reddick fought back however, re-taking the top spot, and holding it until the end.
“Hey, we made it work,” Reddick said. “Hats off to Ross for trying to do that, but really glad it didn’t end up working out because I’d have been pretty pissed off.”
Chastain said he simply reacted.
“Just trying not to be in the corners there in Turn 1,” he said. “I thought we were four wide, and couldn’t go any farther right, and decided to take the NASCAR access lane out there.”
“I took it in practice on exit, overshooting Turn 1,” he added. “And you know where they’re at, and in 12 you have to go around the loop there, and there is around the pole. Yeah, just wanted to not get hit, and merged back on where I merged.”
NASCAR ruled Chastain has gotten an unfair advantage with his move and penalized him post-race placing him 27th in the field. That left the final top five behind Reddick of Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton, and Todd Gilliland third and fourth both with career best finishes. Bubba Wallace rounded out the top five.
“Yeah, we’ll take it,” Burton said. “Wouldn’t have picked this weekend to get my best career finish so far. Just a lot of aggression on the last restarts and putting myself in good positions.”
The races first caution for an incident came out on lap 62 of the scheduled 80 when Kyle Larson who had earlier issues and was running three laps down, appeared to lose brakes on his Chevy entering Turn 1. He slid sideways, got airborne and careened into the Chevy of Austin Dillon. Both drivers were able to walk away though Dillon later admitted it was the hardest hit of his career.
Joey Logano crossed the line sixth but had to abandon his Ford on the cool down lap after it caught on fire. AJ Allmendinger, who won Saturday’s Xfinity race, was in contention for the win late in the going. His cool-suit however had failed during the race, and he ran out of water leaving him desperate to finish. He came home 7th and collapsed on pit road after climbing from his car. He was later able to walk to the infield care center.
Michael McDowell was ninth with Cole Custer overcoming an earlier spin to finish 10th.
Pit strategy jumbled the field in the first half of the race, with some teams electing to stay out and win Stage points, with others playing fuel mileage for the overall race.
Chase Briscoe won Stage 1 and led five laps; he finished 23rd after being swept up in the melee on the final caution. Bell won Stage 2, and despite a blown tire, he avoided the carnage at the end and finished 12th.
Reddick’s win comes a day after he won the pole and marks the first time since 2013 a driver with the Richard Childress Racing team has scored two wins in the NASCAR Cup series. Reddick has already announced he will leave the team after 2023 and move to 23XI Racing starting in 2024.
“Certainly, it was a little bump in the road,” Reddick said of the announcement. “But we went out and won a race fair and square a couple weeks ago. And if we change nothing, we keep working really, really hard, we find a way back to Victory Lane.”
As for Kevin Harvick, the driver who scored those two wins for RCR in 2013 and now races for Stewart-Haas, he needed a win or a good day to make it into the Playoffs. He got neither Sunday struggling all race long until a tangle with Alex Bowman with 17 laps to go sent both drivers to the garage. Harvick finished 33rd and is clinging to the final Playoff spot with four races to go in the regular season.
The NASCAR Cup series will head to 2.0-mile Michigan International Speedway oval next Sunday, where Ryan Blaney is the defending winner.
NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Verizon 200 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Sunday, July 31, 2022
1. (1) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 86.
2. (2) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 86.
3. (13) Harrison Burton #, Ford, 86.
4. (9) Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 86.
5. (19) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 86.
6. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 86.
7. (20) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 86.
8. (7) Michael McDowell, Ford, 86.
9. (24) Cole Custer, Ford, 86.
10. (16) Chris Buescher, Ford, 86.
11. (10) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 86.
12. (4) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 86.
13. (38) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 86.
14. (15) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 86.
15. (35) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 86.
16. (8) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 86.
17. (26) Ty Gibbs(i), Toyota, 86.
18. (31) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 86.
19. (17) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 86.
20. (12) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 86.
21. (25) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 86.
22. (32) Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 86.
23. (3) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 86.
24. (33) Cody Ware, Ford, 86.
25. (37) Josh Williams(i), Ford, 86.
26. (6) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 86.
27. (21) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 86.
28. (11) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 86.
29. (27) Joey Hand, Ford, 85.
30. (29) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 85.
31. (23) William Byron, Chevrolet, Accident, 79.
32. (28) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, DVP, 65.
33. (18) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 64.
34. (30) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 60.
35. (22) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 57.
36. (36) Daniil Kvyat, Toyota, Suspension, 43.
37. (34) Loris Hezemans(i), Ford, Drivetrain, 34.
38. (14) Aric Almirola, Ford, Accident, 24.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 78.511 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 40 Mins, 18 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.065 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 5 for 15 laps.
Lead Changes: 9 among 7 drivers.
Lap Leaders: T. Reddick 1-12;C. Briscoe 13-17;R. Blaney 18-32;C. Bell 33-49;T. Reddick 50;R. Blaney 51-52;A. Allmendinger(i) 53-55;T. Gilliland # 56-59;J. Hand 60-61;T. Reddick 62-86.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Tyler Reddick 3 times for 38 laps; Ryan Blaney 2 times for 17 laps; Christopher Bell 1 time for 17 laps; Chase Briscoe 1 time for 5 laps; Todd Gilliland # 1 time for 4 laps; AJ Allmendinger(i) 1 time for 3 laps; Joey Hand 1 time for 2 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 14,12,24,22,9,38,5,18,21,19
Stage #2 Top Ten: 20,18,23,9,42,11,14,41,43,51