FONTANA, Calif. – Two weeks ago, Tyler Reddick broke a transaxle while leading the Main Event in the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Shaking it off, he focused on the start of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season.
Fast forward and the return to California did not suit him well. After leading 90 laps, the most of the race and more than all his previous Cup races combined, Reddick once again fell into the grasp of misfortune. A flat left rear tire led to a loose exit of Turn 2, where William Byron misjudged the arc of his exit. Byron, who arguably was Reddick’s biggest challenger all day, body-slammed into the side of No. 8 machine and spun out to the bottom of the track. The collision brought out a caution to slow the race. It ultimately left Byron with a DNF result, while Reddick limped to pit road.
“Absolutely gutted by how our race unfolded,” Reddick shared after the Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway. “But I couldn’t be prouder of this whole team and what we were able to do a majority of this race today.”
It wasn’t just the Richard Childress Racing car of Reddick that shined brightly in the California sun. Teammate Austin Dillon powered his No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro to a second place finish, avoiding spins late in the race. The two look to take their aggression to the next level as NASCAR continues their west coast swing.
“We will learn from this;” continued Reddick. “We will become stronger from this and be hungrier than ever before. It was really fun having all of the Lenovo guests here today and it was really exciting to have such a strong run for them today.
“We will keep this momentum going to Las Vegas next week.”
Reddick ended the race one lap down in 24th position, but with the points he gained from winning both stages, the California native now sits 21st in the championship standings. If he can gain 11 spots from a result like today, then reasons abound for the optimism around their camp.
And with the Next Gen car carrying so many unknowns into this year, Reddick could be the one to become NASCAR’s 200th winner in the Cup Series.