Michael Jordan had his 1998 NBA Finals Flu Game. Tyler Reddick nearly had his “flu race” on Sunday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ironically enough, Reddick drives for Jordan’s 23XI Racing team and had to have John Hunter Nemechek as the standby driver in case that Reddick couldn’t last for the duration of Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400. The California native was battling a stomach bug and was forced to miss the drivers meeting this morning as a result of that.
He started the race in 16th but wasn’t sure if he could last. He was going to give it his best efforts. Good thing he did. Reddick scored his second straight top 5 finish in bringing his No. 45 Toyota home fifth. He was third last week in Phoenix too.
“We’ll try to just go back and look at it,” Reddick said of the finish. “Our Xfinity Toyota Camry TRD was as fast as the Xfinity 10 G network. We had Toyotas lined up there, and I didn’t know if that was our move there with all three together or Christopher (Bell) was going to do it on his own. We’ll talk about it, for sure. I don’t know, maybe if we all would have went it would have worked out for one of us. I’m not really sure.
“It didn’t really work for one of us, so it’s definitely something for us to think about so that one of us can win the race there. It’s a bummer that we let someone else get it done. There was definitely some hard work going on. Joey (Logano) was doing Joey things. He was making the bottom work really good. … I was also at the same time trying to create an opportunity where all three – myself, Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin— could all break away and take advantage of momentum. It didn’t quite work out timing-wise as it needed to for that. All in all, it was an okay day.”
It was a solid outing for him. He was in either second or third for much of the final stint and even finished fourth in Stage 2. Unfortunately for them, they had to come back down pit road under that stage caution to get the car filled better. That cost him his track position. Luckily for them though, having fresher tires and two cautions fly helped get him back to the front for which he capitalized on his track position being back.
This makes up for a rough start to the season in which he crashed the first two weeks at Daytona (39th) and Fontana (34th) and didn’t get a chance to qualify in Vegas and had to start in the back. He’d still finish 15th. Now, he’s looking like a race winning threat again.