Tyler Reddick on Ganassi speed: “I have to take advantage of it.”

Logan Whitton/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

SPARTA, Ky. — Chip Ganassi Racing’s (CGR) No. 42 car has been fast this year, and Tyler Reddick knows it.

So when an opportunity at a strong run faded away at Kentucky Speedway, the part-time NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) driver couldn’t help but be frustrated with the result.

“We’re on a stretch right know where our stuff’s really good,” Reddick told Kickin’ the Tires. “In another month, we might be struggling. I might have it finally figured out, and we just won’t have the speed. I definitely don’t want to waste these number of starts that I have, because who knows what could happen? We could have horrible luck from here on out.

“Right now I need to take advantage of it.”

Making his ninth start for CGR and Chevrolet after an offseason move from Brad Keselowski Racing, Reddick appeared to be one of the strongest contenders to attack the brigade of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers that had flocked down to NASCAR’s second series on Saturday.

The 21-year old finished fifth in the race’s opening stage, and became one of just three NXS regulars to tally points in both stages with a ninth-place run in Stage 2.

However from there Reddick struggled. The Corning, California native was one of many NXS drivers to get shuffled around by tire strategies, rising and falling through cautions. Reddick lined up 15th for the race’s final restart, and had rallied to 10th when the checkered flag flew.

“It was nice for a while,” Reddick said of running with Cup regulars. “Obviously I didn’t finish up there with the Cup guys, but I guess that’s why they’re Cup guys. They know how to manage a race.”

Reddick is in the midst of a partial schedule with CGR, sharing their No. 42 Chevrolet with MENCS points leader Kyle Larson. Through nine starts, the XFINITY Series newcomer has three top 10s, with a best finish third at Iowa Speedway.

Statistically Reddick’s limited run has proven similar to those seen by Brennan Poole and Justin Marks win similar opportunities. He hasn’t been able to match Larson’s incredible three wins and 2.6 average finish, but Reddick’s average result of 16.7 bests Poole’s 18.6 in 2015 and Marks’ 20.6 in 2016 – though Marks’ limited appearances yielded a win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

However with nothing certain for next season just yet – Reddick told Kickin’ the Tires plans for 2018 are “in the works” – the three-time Camping World Truck Series winner feels he needs to do better.

“Just about every race so far this year the cars been really, really good,” Reddick said. “It sucks when you have a car that good to blow opportunities for really good finishes.

“I made some mistakes at probably the worst time possible, and we just weren’t able to recover from it. I’ve gotta learn.”

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