By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn – A last lap move in the final corner sent Tyler Reddick spinning coming to the checkered flag in the Food City Dirt Race.
Reddick took the lead in his No. 8 3CHI Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE at the start of the final Stage at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track. Throughout multiple cautions, the Richard Childress Racing driver held off his NASCAR Cup Series competitors. Two of the cautions were for rain delays which forced NASCAR and track officials to work on the track.
On the final restart Chase Briscoe pounced to challenge Reddick for the lead. The two drivers with dirt track experience ripped along the cushion on the outside. Slowly, Briscoe closed in on the Corning, Calif. native. Reddick increased the gap in Turns 1 and 2 while the Stewart-Haas Racing driver closed in on the opposite end of the track.
On the final lap, Briscoe attempted a slide job in Turns 3 and 4. He clipped Reddick, sending the two leading cars spinning down the track. The Chevy Racing driver momentarily stalled before getting back in gear. However, by the time Reddick was moving again, Kyle Busch snatched the lead in the final moments. The two-time Xfinity champion finished 0.330 seconds behind Busch.
“I let him get a little too close,” reflected Reddick. “He was within reach to really go for it in the last corner and tried to fend for it. I mean, he drove it in from really far back. I kind of knew what was coming because I had to make pretty similarly crazy moves at times in the race to pass some cars. So, I knew it was coming and I thought I defended it as good as I could. The only thing that would have made a difference was just running better laps the last two or three there to keep a little bit of a gap between us.
“But credit to him, he did a really good job of just driving the wheels off that car in the last couple laps closed the gap. I knew it wasn’t intentional. The conversation went exactly how I expected it to. I know him from many years back. We’ve raced Sprint Cars together, other things together. We both like to race really hard, and we don’t like to clean somebody out just plainly like that. It was tough.”
Reddick started the race in third after earning enough passing points in the Heat races. He finished the first Stage in eighth followed by a 10th-place finish in Stage 2. Reddick stayed out during the second Stage break, gaining track position which netted him the lead on the restart.
The second-place finish is the third top-five for Reddick in the Cup Series this season. It’s the ninth top-five finish of his career and his fourth runner-up.
The top-five finish moved Reddick from 12th to 11th in the championship points standings. He is 83-points behind leader Chase Elliott. Reddick is also 21-points ahead of the playoff cutline currently held by Christopher Bell.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by NKP / NKP Photo.