AUSTIN, TX — We’ve seen half of the six races run during the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season end up with a first time winner in NASCAR’s premiere series. That includes Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix in COTA. But, also with how this weekend’s race ended, one would think that Tyler Reddick is next.
Reddick, held the lead coming to the final overtime restart. He just passed race leader Ross Chastain just prior to the final caution flag of the day on Lap 65. Could he hold off Chastain and AJ Allmendinger for his first Cup Series triumph on a hot Texas day?
Unfortunately, with how he took the lead just prior to the caution, he lost it in the same fashion. Reddick, having just taken over the top spot on the last restart, didn’t get through the first corner as clean as he would have liked.
That opened up a window for Chastain to pounce and pounce he did. So did others. Reddick, slid down to fifth in the final lap to get his second top five in three weeks, but this one stung a bit for the Richard Childress Racing driver.
“Just didn’t get a good launch off Turn 1,” he said. “And just almost had the 1 car cleared but didn’t quite. We were really on the loose side all day long and that make us pretty susceptible to getting aggressive at the end. So, was just easy to get moved around there and that was kind of a problem I had all day.
“Just a little bit of pressure I had from anybody, and the back of this car was out of the track. It could get through the esses pretty good and could do a lot of things really well, but we just missed it in a little way where if we had to battle with other cars in traffic, it was really hard to get the good launch off the corner and complete a pass or really battle hard. So, it was tough, but we will learn from it and go back to the simulator and go back to work.”
Reddick, qualified fourth and went off strategy early. He pit on Lap 12 and Lap 27 to punt away stage points for track position. It paid off, especially with that Lap 40 caution to bring everyone down pit road a lap later.
He’d stay in the top five the rest of the way and show that he’s the true next first time winner looming.