HOMESTEAD, Fla — Tyler Reddick crossed the finish line runner-up for a second straight day at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. He did so in his No. 23 Chevrolet for Our Motorsports on Saturday but was later disqualified for his car failing post race inspection due to a ride heights violation.
On Sunday, he did it again in his No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. But, Reddick was none too thrilled with another second place result. He was shockingly dejected. See, he was dejected with how off that they were at the start of Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 from the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last year, they were quick during the day time hours and he felt like they should be again this weekend. Then, with a mistake on the last restart, he felt like a win could have been had despite chasing the car all race.
“Obviously this was a 400-mile race, and everyone knew that,” Reddick said. “I just didn’t have a very good last restart. We kind of struggled to get our Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevy going, and I had just a poor restart, and it was the difference, unfortunately. That’s all there is to it. Needed to be able to hold on better at the start and just didn’t.”
Unfortunately, they weren’t good at all early too. Reddick, was just 25th by the end of Stage 1 and only 18th in Stage 2. When the sun set and the lights came out, off his car went. He was blazing fast and the car came to him finally.
He just says that the final restart that he didn’t get the launch that he needed to which if he did, he thinks he would have been there in the end battling for the win.
Reddick, made up nearly eight seconds in the final 15 laps as he crossed the finish line 2.777 seconds behind William Byron.
“I knew that it was going to take a well executed restart, which unfortunately I didn’t do the last two, three — maybe it was four or five spots,” a disappointed Reddick continued. “Five too many. It takes time to get back around those cars. They’re good drivers, they know what they’re doing, and that’s just the difference. I don’t know why we were so off in the beginning of the day here. Last year or in the summer, we took off really, really good in the daytime, so I saw we would be better in the day and everyone is going to catch up at night, and it was the opposite.
“Yeah, when you see how much faster you were than the guys in front of you and you know you’re running out of time, it gets frustrating. Really if you go back and look at one or two things that would have changed the outcome. Yeah, I get it, can’t go back and change it, but we had a really bad start to the year. Second is great, but it’s not going to put us in a great — we’re still way back in the mess, in the mix of it.”
Also, he says that while you can take momentum from Sunday, the track at Homestead is so much different than others that you really can’t take as much away as you would have liked. Plus, he still is in a big hole in the points following finishes of 27th and 38th respectively at Daytona.
“I don’t think the momentum carries based on how our long-run performance is,” he said. “The momentum of being able to get out of the hole and being able to fight through that, you know you can carry that. But it’s unrealistic to say that we can go to Vegas and be able to run that much faster than the field. It doesn’t happen there. It doesn’t happen at Texas since it’s been repaved. Doesn’t happen at a lot of the tracks we go to. You have to win these races by being very consistent, making the right calls on pit road, and as a driver, staying up front, keeping your track position. You just can’t — you don’t have the options you do at Homestead and other places that we go.”
Still, Reddick has crossed the finish line in the top four in all nine Homestead starts. He was sixth, third and second respectively in the Truck Series before finishing fourth, first and first respectively between 2017-2019 in Xfinity competition. He was fourth as a rookie in Cup last year before coming back this year for two runner-ups between the Xfinity race on Saturday and the Cup race on Sunday.
He says while being unhappy with how the race played out, that a lot of positive can still be had though.
“Well, there’s a lot of positives,” said the RCR driver. “I feel like the story of our — of my rookie season and the story of our team last year was start off really good, midway through the race, just go all the — it just blows up in our face and we just don’t get a good finish out of it. Today was the opposite, which was nice. It’s something that we’ve been needing to get, figure out how we can have nights like this and what we can do to continue to stay hungry and keep fighting.
“We definitely tried to work on our car a lot throughout the night, but then we just made some choices to just go for track position on the pit stops, and that definitely helped us, too. There is positives, but there isn’t a whole lot you can take away from here and apply at other racetracks as a driver and how you drive the track. But how you execute and all that you can kind of apply going forward.”