Reddick: ‘It didn’t feel like real life’

INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler Reddick was in the lead and heading for victory when he nailed the final restart of Sunday’s Verizon 200 at The Brickyard.

All he had to do was complete the final three laps around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile oval and Reddick would earn his second NASCAR Cup Series victory in the month of July.

Then, out of nowhere, he saw Ross Chastain’s Chevy appear alongside Reddick’s Richard Childress Racing Chevy.

This was the same car that Chastain drove too deep into Turn 1, couldn’t make the turn, and used his natural instinct to drive into the release lane to avoid causing multiple-car mayhem.

Reddick couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“It didn’t feel like real life,” Reddick said afterwards.

Reddick burned it after winning. (HHP/Jim Fluharty)

Back at Reddick’s timing stand, cooler heads prevailed. Crew chief Randall Burnett knew Chastain’s bold decision to run into the runoff zone and join the field next to the leader was not going to stand up to NASCAR’s Race Control.

“I was trying to watch on TV and then I flashed and showed the cars destroying themselves and they came back to Tyler and the 1 (Chastain) is right there, I’m like, ‘Where did this come from? this guy? Burnett called back. “I saw a car going through it all. I didn’t know that was where it came out. I was trying to catch up. Where did it come from?

“It was pretty fun. I don’t know if he got a penalty or what for it, but yeah, glad he and Tyler didn’t get together and ruin our race. It was more like that. that worried me than anything else at the time.

Derek Kneeland is Reddick’s spotter and delivered the message to the pit stand that NASCAR was going to penalize Chastain for the move. This moved him from second place, struggling for an eventual victory, to a 27th place finish.

“Well, Derek spoke pretty quickly and he’s like, this is going to be a penalty for them,” Burnett continued. “He informed him pretty quickly not to put himself in a bad position, but we also had the 2 right there and Ross was still beating us hard. It was important for us to get past the 1 to ward off the 2 because if we we were cheating with him and leaving the 2 by us – it was quite a mess there for a minute and quite a stressful situation.

“Fortunately, we were able to pass 1 and come out clean without having to worry about it.”

Driving the #8 Chevy, Reddick had to meet the challenge of Chastain and third place driven by Team Penske’s Austin Cindric. He had to make sure Chastain didn’t impact his run so Cindric could catch him at the end.

“I was waiting to see what would happen in this situation. I was told that he was probably going to be penalized, but it was not enough.

“I needed to know if he was going to be penalized or not. It was a complex situation for a few sections there.

“Luckily I was able to gain momentum on Ross in a fairly convenient spot and make the pass for the lead and then check from there.”

As for the race-winning restart for Reddick, he knew he had to time it perfectly.

“I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen riders like Austin Cindric and a few others in practice doing mock restarts,” Reddick recalled. “As the race progressed, I thought I had found the limit of the restart braking zone. It is very different from the normal braking zone on a green flag lap.

“I never overworked myself or exceeded that mark. We had aggressive brakes on our car.

“I had a push on Ryan Blaney’s last restart. He was doing a good job of timing the reboot on me and then also defending himself from what was happening to him. But he turned around and the rest was history. But Ryan gave me a good push and that got me inside. We stuck together and got a boost, and it worked really well together.

Red 2
For Reddick, it was his second win of the season. (HHP/Garry Eller)

It’s been a whole month for Reddick. He opened July with a win at Road American on July 3, informed his team owner Richard Childress that he was leaving the team after the 2023 season to join 23X11, and closed the month with a win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31.

In the process, he proved that despite the bad feelings that may exist between him and team owner Richard Childress, he is determined to win races and fight for the championship in 2022 and 2023.

“Well, after they made their announcement, I met – I thought about it a lot that night, I thought about it a lot, and it’s more than just one person; it’s about a team,” Childress said. “I stayed up most of the night thinking about what to do, how I wanted to handle it.

“I went the next day and told the whole team it wasn’t a perfect circumstance the way it happened, but we’re going to give it our all this year, and we’ll see where we go next. year.”

Reddick realizes he’s put himself in a tough spot, but he’s determined to let his run calm doubters and critics alike.

“Fortunately, winning softens some things, I think,” Reddick said. “I told him that as long as I race here, I will do everything I can to win races for this team, and I would love to win a championship or two with this team.

“I’m just going to give them everything I have.

“I’m happy to add to his collection of Brickyard (Richard Childress) rings and wins. He’s had a few before me and I’m happy to help add to that. I want to add to whatever I can with him before my time is up.

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