Tyler Reddick weighs in on his season so far and making the jump from the Xfinity Series

Photo By: Chris Owens / Harold Hinson Photography

By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer

Richard Childress Racing Rookie Tyler Reddick heads into this weekend’s FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway leading the Rookie of the Year standings . However, the two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion admitted trying to figure out that happy medium going into the race has been a big challenge.

“You really don’t know where you’re at until the green flag drops, essentially. The 88 (Alex Bowman) was really good from the drop of the hat during practice on Friday at Fontana and that carried over into the race, for sure. I’ve definitely just been trying to figure out where me and my crew chief, Randall Burnett, want to be with our race car; that’s probably been the biggest challenge,” said Reddick.

“On top of that, just navigating and being the most efficient that we can on pit road has probably been the second biggest challenge. Pit road has been getting easier a couple of races in, understanding how important it is and the ins and outs. Getting some practice down pit road has been very important to make that as efficient as possible.”

Three races into his first full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series hasn’t been easy. A crash at Daytona resulted in a disappointing 28th place finish. The following week at Las Vegas left him with an 18th place finish. However, Reddick was able to leave last Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway with a solid 11th place result in his No. 8 Chevrolet.

“Fontana was almost a good day. We were just a little bit off from being able to be in the top-10,” said Reddick.

It’s been quite the jump to go from dominating in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as Reddick did in 2019 and Reddick has acknowledged such. Last season he earned his second NXS championship in a row, five poles, six wins, 24 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes to NASCAR’s elite series full-time.

(Photo By: SaJorden Miller / Kickin’ the Tires)

“It’s a huge jump. I feel like what would have been battling for top-two or three in the Xfinity side is what you’re dealing with when you’re battling just to get into the top-15,” expressed Reddick.

“There’s a lot of good drivers. It’s pretty crazy. You have a lot of guys that are very successful that you’re racing around. Most of the day, I remember being around Martin Truex Jr., a lot of the Gibbs’ cars, some of the other guys like Joey (Logano), it’s just tough. It’s just part of it, but it’s been a lot of fun. It makes the racing fun and it’s really cool to race against those guys. But still, even the guys like them, they have bad days. We just have to try to capitalize on it, make the most out of those days and try to get good finishes. You’re probably going to out-run some really good cars on days when you’re running that good yourself. It just goes to show how tough it is.”

As the California native searches for his first top-10 finish on the season, he’s expressed the season is going good so far and the potential for good finishes has been there.

“It’s going pretty well so far. I was really hoping we could have cracked the top-10 at Fontana with our strategy call in Las Vegas,” said Reddick. “

“Unfortunately, if we would have started sixth or fourth on that restart, we probably could have come out third, fourth or fifth. Fifth is a really hard place to restart at a lot of these 1.5-mile tracks. We’ve had some really good potential finishes, but our runs have been OK. We’re trying to make our cars better.”

Sunday’s FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway will mark Reddick’s first-time racing at the 1-mile track in the Cup Series.

In his five previous NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the track, he has two top-five and four top-10 finishes. His best finish was third twice in both events last season.

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