Before Wednesday night, Tyler Reddick had never raced at Bristol Motor Speedway. Despite the inexperience, he was able to come away with a solid top-10 finish and the points lead.
“With Tyler in the points lead, ending up in the top-10 at one of the tracks that circled as being as tough one, for him to do just that, it was a good overall day for BKR,” team owner Brad Keselowski commented.
Starting from the 19th spot, Reddick ran outside of the top-10 during the first half of the race, and was only up to 12th when the red flag was displayed for rain falling with 34 laps to go. NASCAR was able to get the track dried and the race restarted, in which through a pair of restarts, Reddick made his way into the top-10, crossing the finish line in the eighth spot. As a result, he continues to lead the Camping World Truck Series standings, six points ahead of Matt Crafton.
Admittedly, Reddick perhaps got a little lucky through the process in keeping the points lead. Crafton was leading the race under the red flag after inheriting the lead when Cole Custer got involved in a wreck. At the time of red flag, Crafton said that he would be fine if they called the race, but also felt that he had a strong enough truck to win the race flat-out
“I’m Indian, so maybe I could do a little maybe Indian rain dance so we’re done here and keep the rain coming,” he added and perhaps, that would’ve been a good idea. Crafton continued to lead the field till the caution came out with two laps to go for an incident just outside of the top-10. On the restart, the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra burped a little, resulting in the loss of the lead and a seventh place finish. Fellow points counter Erik Jones finished sixth to currently sit seven points behind Reddick.
While Crafton enters this season looking for his third straight championship, this season marks Reddick’s first full-season of competition in the Camping World Truck Series after running a limited number of races last season. He has impressed his boss as Keselowski stated post-race that the young man has showed a lot of poise.
“It’s great to see, especially with loads of talent,” Keselowski commented. “He’s in a really critical stretch and we know it as this is a three, four-race span with tracks that he’s never been too, never raced and he has the points lead. You want to talk about pressure – that’s pressure. Never ran a road course in his life and he’s going to Canada with the points lead in the truck series.
“I give him a lot of credit. He’s a lot less nervous than I would be in his shoes, and he’s doing a great job along the way trying to take it to the next level.”
Keselowski also believes that it’s time for his organization to win their first championship based on the product that they’re bringing to the track.
“This is by far our best year as a company and I don’t think that’s by mistake,” he added. “We’ve grown, whether with people or resources with the help of Ford and time. He’s got a serious shot at winning the championship with the points lead right now. Our teams and trucks have never been faster or stronger, and I think he’s taking that in great stride.”