Tyler Reddick survives chaos, and blown tires, to win at Texas

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 25: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 Lenovo/ThinkEdge Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on September 25, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Tyler Reddick was finally able to seal the deal on an oval. This season has been a could’ve, would’ve, should’ve, for the lame duck Richard Childress Racing driver. He was leading at Fontana, the Bristol Dirt race, and at Kansas Speedway, and missed advancing in the Playoffs by a mere 2 points after the Round of 16.

Sunday night after a marathon race of survival at Texas Motor Speedway, Reddick was able to add an oval win to his Cup resume to go with his two road course wins earlier in the season.

Reddick led a race high 70 of the 334 grueling miles on the 1.5-mile oval that feature a record number of cautions, 16, many blown tires, and a few hurt feelings.

The outgoing RCR driver, who will give up his No. 8 Chevy to Kyle Busch next season, took the lead on lap 310 from Joey Logano and led the final 24 laps winning by 1.190. Texas is the first race in the Round of 12 and Reddick became the fourth non-Playoff driver to win in the Playoffs marking the first-time non-Playoff drivers have done so since this format was started.

Playoff driver Logano held on for second, Justin Haley was third with Playoff drivers Ryan Blaney, who won Stage 2, and Chase Briscoe rounding out the top five finishers.

Many in the field suffered blown tires starting with Christopher Bell whose Toyota was the first of many to lose a tire on lap 71 while he was running seventh. He was able to keep the car off the wall but wasn’t so lucky when it happened again on lap 141 with his car suffering too much damage to continue.

The news was just as bad for the top seed coming into the Round of 12, Chase Elliott. Elliott was leading when on lap 184 when his Chevy lost a tire coming into turn 4 and he hit the wall hard. The car caught fire as Elliott tried to guide it to a stop on the front stretch. It came to rest of the ball field still burning, and Elliot was forced to exit the car, and was out of the race.

Playoff driver Alex Bowman also lost a tire but finished the race 5 laps down in 29th. Among the non-Playoff drivers to lose tires, was Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, and Martin Truex Jr. Truex and Harvick were both leading when blown tires cost them a chance at a win.

“I don’t even know what to say,” an obviously Truex said. “Between crappy parts, tires exploding & all the bullshit we’re dealing with, it’s a joke.”

The most frightening incident of the day came when Cody Ware lost a tire on his Ford on lap 168. The car snapped to the right and was sent nose first into the outside wall in turn 4. The destroyed machine still carried momentum and charged down the track, across pit road and ended in the outside wall just missing the opening to the entrance to the garage area. Ware to taken to the infield care center and cleared, but his team said while there were no visible injuries, he will get further evaluated later in the week as a precaution.

In the closing laps Playoff hopefuls William Byron and Denny Hamlin tangled while racing for position with Hamlin putting Byron into the wall. Under an ensuing caution shortly after, Byron spun Hamlin out on the frontstretch.

“It was really, really hard contact,” Byron said. “It wasn’t like just a light contact or anything like that. Yeah, I didn’t mean to obviously spin him out over there. Obviously, I’m pissed off, just not going to get run like that.”

VIDEO: Cody Ware checked and released after frightening accident at Texas Motor Speedway

Byron would finish seventh behind Erik Jones, polesitter Brad Keselowski was eighth with Playoff drivers Kyle Larson, who won Stage 1, ninth and Hamlin rounding out the top 10.

Hamlin seemed to indicate he might be holding a grudge.

“I mean, you know, I keep hearing these guys,” he said. “I’ll just add it to the list of guys when I get a chance. They’re going to get it.”

Other Playoff drivers: Daniel Suarez was 12th, Ross Chastain 15th and Austin Cindric 15th.

The race also featured a near hour delay on lap 212 when first light rain, then lightning forced a red flag. Reddick would take the lead shortly after the race restarted and would lead most of the laps until the end when he was able to celebrate the win after long day.

Reddick did admit he was concerned about tires in the final laps.

“I was extremely worried, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “Unfortunately, just about every time we’ve had fast cars, we’ve had some tire problems. Yeah, that last run the right sides were vibrating really, really hard there.

“I was just trying to maximize and use the gap that I built over Joey just in case. I mean, every time we’ve had a strong car, we’ve been bit by something, man.”

With his second-place finish Logano leaves Texas as the top seed as the Round of 12 moves to Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday.

“Yeah, the tires, if they aren’t blowing out then they are square,” Logano said. “They were shaking like crazy. That is what happened there the last run. The last couple of runs really, just shaking the car. We got tight a couple runs and last time I got one that was off in the rear and we got loose.

“I think Reddick was fighting the same thing from what I heard there. You get that close to the win and you just know that if you just had that it might have been good enough to win the race. At the same time we should be happy that we scored a bunch of points today. It is bittersweet I guess.”

Logano leaves Texas as the top Playoff seed with Briscoe, Cindric, Bell and Bowman below the cutoff line.

Photos: NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday Sept. 25, 2022

NASCAR Cup Series Race Results AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Sunday, September 25, 2022

  1. (4)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 334.
  2. (2)  Joey Logano (P), Ford, 334.
  3. (31)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 334.
  4. (14)  Ryan Blaney (P), Ford, 334.
  5. (30)  Chase Briscoe (P), Ford, 334.
  6. (27)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 334.
  7. (3)  William Byron (P), Chevrolet, 334.
  8. (1)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 334.
  9. (9)  Kyle Larson (P), Chevrolet, 334.
  10. (8)  Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 334.
  11. (5)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 334.
  12. (10)  Daniel Suarez (P), Chevrolet, 334.
  13. (12)  Ross Chastain (P), Chevrolet, 334.
  14. (29)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 334.
  15. (11)  Austin Cindric # (P), Ford, 334.
  16. (32)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 334.
  17. (7)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 334.
  18. (20)  Harrison Burton #, Ford, 334.
  19. (23)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 334.
  20. (16)  Ty Gibbs(i), Toyota, 334.
  21. (26)  Noah Gragson(i), Chevrolet, 334.
  22. (35)  Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 334.
  23. (33)  Garrett Smithley(i), Ford, 334.
  24. (25)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 334.
  25. (19)  Bubba Wallace (P), Toyota, 334.
  26. (34)  BJ McLeod(i), Ford, 333.
  27. (21)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 333.
  28. (28)  Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 333.
  29. (17)  Alex Bowman (P), Chevrolet, 329.
  30. (13)  Chris Buescher, Ford, Accident, 270.
  31. (15)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 267.
  32. (6)  Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 184.
  33. (36)  Cody Ware, Ford, Accident, 166.
  34. (22)  Christopher Bell (P), Toyota, DVP, 136.
  35. (24)  Cole Custer, Ford, Accident, 77.
  36. (18)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 48.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  114.784 mph.

Time of Race:  4 Hrs, 21 Mins, 53 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.190 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  16 for 91 laps.

Lead Changes:  36 among 19 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   B. Keselowski 0;J. Logano (P) 1;B. Keselowski 2-32;J. Logano (P) 33-41;W. Byron (P) 42-43;J. Logano (P) 44-45;W. Byron (P) 46-53;J. Logano (P) 54;W. Byron (P) 55-59;J. Logano (P) 60;W. Byron (P) 61-86;D. Hamlin (P) 87-88;K. Larson (P) 89-107;R. Stenhouse Jr. 108-122;H. Burton # 123-137;C. Elliott (P) 138;B. McLeod(i) 139;C. Elliott (P) 140;R. Chastain (P) 141;C. Elliott (P) 142-183;R. Blaney (P) 184-190;D. Suarez (P) 191;R. Blaney (P) 192-213;M. McDowell 214-223;E. Jones 224;M. McDowell 225-226;T. Reddick 227-243;K. Harvick 244-252;M. Truex Jr. 253-267;A. Dillon 268-270;W. Byron (P) 271;R. Stenhouse Jr. 272-276;T. Gilliland # 277;R. Stenhouse Jr. 278-280;T. Reddick 281-309;J. Logano (P) 310;T. Reddick 311-334.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Tyler Reddick 3 times for 70 laps; Chase Elliott (P) 3 times for 44 laps; William Byron (P) 5 times for 42 laps; Brad Keselowski 1 time for 31 laps; Ryan Blaney (P) 2 times for 29 laps; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 3 times for 23 laps; Kyle Larson (P) 1 time for 19 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 1 time for 15 laps; Harrison Burton # 1 time for 15 laps; Joey Logano (P) 6 times for 15 laps; Michael McDowell 2 times for 12 laps; Kevin Harvick 1 time for 9 laps; Austin Dillon 1 time for 3 laps; Denny Hamlin (P) 1 time for 2 laps; Ross Chastain (P) 1 time for 1 lap; Erik Jones 1 time for 1 lap; Todd Gilliland # 1 time for 1 lap; BJ McLeod(i) 1 time for 1 lap; Daniel Suarez (P) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 5,11,22,99,1,24,47,6,2,34

Stage #2 Top Ten: 12,1,24,6,99,3,2,22,19,34


Greg Engle