Friday, September 30, 2022

Reddick’s team confident after cup series win

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. ( Associated Press) — Tyler Reddick has finally won his first Cup Series win and probably a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs.

He is not giving off gas anymore.

Richard Childress Racing driver and his team have bigger goals than just qualifying for the playoffs.

“We talk about being contenders for the championship, and I think we can. I really think that when we do,” team owner Richard Childress said on Sunday after Reddick’s win at Road America. If we join it, we will be contenders for the championship.”

Strong statement for a team that started Reddick’s 92nd career on Sunday with only their first Cup win. But Redick Road came close enough before his win in America to finish five runners-up—and reigning NASCAR Champion Kyle Larson’s Precision Pick of the Year as the Surprise Driver of the Year.

So it’s been a buildup to get up to the win lane and now Reddick will try to carry his new pace at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where NASCAR races this Sunday and Reddick was a contender in the spring until a late crash.

Just a week before Road America, Reddick admitted how disappointing it had been to fall short of the first Cup win of that success. He was driving his partner, Alexa, crazy, as he struggled to take the next step.

“I would say I was very sad,” said Reddick. “I don’t think Alexa enjoyed being around me when I was second. Yeah, not a bad place to finish second. But we’re here to win the race.”

His first victory came along the way, where he experienced one of the low points of his career.

Reddick recalled a disastrous performance at the 2018 Xfinity Series race at Road America, which had him questioning whether he has what it takes to make it as a driver at the highest level.

“It was about here that things could have gone one of two ways,” Reddick said. “It could have been a path where I was giving up too much… I don’t think I had it. But there were so many good people around me who believed in me, took me back there.” Where I needed to be, and since that time, things have gotten a lot better.

“It’s really crazy that this is where I got my first win because four years ago this place made me question everything.”

The win showed how far Reddick has come as a road-course driver since early in his career.

“He was like: ‘Man, I hate road course racing. I’m not very good at it,'” crew chief Randall Burnett recalled. “He’s pretty good at everything he does, so his It was a challenge for me to say that.”

Burnett credits Redick for working tirelessly to make himself more comfortable on the road course.

“I think it’s a nice little cherry on top for him to know that he worked as hard as he did in these places,” Burnett said. “So I think it’s very special for him to actually win on the road course for the first time.”

Reddick usually had many more good days than bad days during racing in the Xfinity Series, where he won consecutive Xfinity titles in 2018 and 2019 and earned a seat driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for Childress. When he got the ride of the cup he was surprised at the significant jump in the competition.

“We were slapped in the face with the reality of what Cup racing was like,” said Reddick. “I’ve had to learn a lot during these last three years in the Cup Series as a driver.”

It also meant making sure he wasn’t too high on his second-place finish and instead figuring out how the experience could make him a better drive. Reddick didn’t even blame his heart-wrenching performance in Bristol this year until Chase Briscoe tried to overtake him in a move that left both of his cars out of control. Kyle Bush passes both to secure the win.

“Yeah, it eats you up a bit, but then, I try and look at it, ‘How can I learn from this? How can I learn from Bristol?'” said Reddick. “Yeah, I’m doomed. But I had a gap and I let him drive me back down and there. I gave him a chance.”

Reddick’s team made sure the disappointment never ended. They all knew that victory would come sooner or later.

“It didn’t matter if he was going to do it, it was when they were going to win,” Childress said. “That’s what we kept telling them.”

Now they are ready for more.

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More Associated Press Auto Racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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