Tyler Reddick fends off Elliott for first Cup Series victory at Road America

A day after solidifying his plans to return to Richard Childress Racing for the 2023 season, Tyler Reddick achieved his long-awaited first NASCAR Cup Series career victory in the third running of the Kwik Trip 250 at Road America on Sunday, July 3.

The 26-year-old Reddick from Corning, California, who is also a two-time champion in the Xfinity Series, led the final 16 of 62-scheduled laps as he overtook and muscled away from Chase Elliott to etch his name as a winner in NASCAR’s premier series in his third full-time season in the series along with placing himself in the picture to make the 2022 Cup Series Playoffs. 

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, Chase Elliott notched his second NASCAR Cup Series pole position of the season after claiming the top starting spot with a pole-winning lap at 108.407 mph in 134.427 seconds. Joining him on the front row was Chase Briscoe, who clocked in a fast qualifying lap at 108.376 mph in 134.465 seconds.

Prior to the event, Kyle Busch dropped to the rear of the field due to an engine change along with Loris Hezemans, who fell back due to unapproved adjustments made to his car.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Elliott took off with a brief, early advantage until Briscoe drew himself alongside Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through the first three turns. Despite remaining side-by-side with Briscoe through Turn 5, Elliott managed to pull ahead and retain the lead ahead of Briscoe entering Turn 6 as the field behind jostled for positions. As the field made its way through the 14-turn circuit, Elliott led the first lap ahead of Briscoe.

Through the second lap of the event, Elliott was leading by exactly eight-tenths of a second over Briscoe followed by Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick and Michael McDowell while rookie Austin Cindric, Alex Bowman, Cole Custer, Ross Chastain and Chris Buescher were in the top 10. Behind, Joey Hand was in 11th ahead of Daniel Suarez, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. while Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon and AJ Allmendinger were in the top 20. Meanwhile, Kurt Busch was in 21st ahead of rookie Harrison Burton, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace while Josh Bilicki, Ty Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and William Byron were in the top 30. Justin Haley was in 31st, two spots ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., while rookie Todd Gilliland was in 34th.

Two laps later, Kyle Busch got loose entering Turn 5 while battling William Byron, spun and made the slightest of contact with Aric Almirola, who was running wide entering the turn, but both proceeded without drawing a caution. Meanwhile, Elliott continued to lead by more than a second over Briscoe followed by Larson, Reddick and McDowell.

Ten laps into the event, Elliott extended his advantage to more than four seconds over Briscoe while Larson, Reddick and McDowell remained in the top five. Cindric also remained in sixth place followed by Ross Chastain, Buescher, Bowman and Custer.

A few laps later, a bevy of names including Larson, Reddick, McDowell, Chastain, Buescher, Custer, Joey Hand, Truex, Suarez, Hamlin, Bell, Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Blaney, Byron, Custer, Harvick, Gilliland and Stenhouse pitted under green while Elliott continued to lead. Just as Lap 13 struck, Elliott pitted while Briscoe assumed the lead. Following the pit stops, Hamlin was penalized for driving his No. 11 FedEx Toyota TRD Camry through too many pit boxes and was required to start at the rear of the field for the start of the second stage.

When the first stage concluded on Lap 15, Briscoe captured his second stage victory of the season. Cindric settled in second place followed by Bowman, Logano, Kurt Busch, Harrison Burton, Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones, Haley and Elliott.

Under the stage break, some led by Briscoe pitted while the rest led by Elliott remained on the track.

The second stage started on Lap 17 as teammates Elliott and Larson occupied the front row. At the start, Elliott briefly dueled with Larson for the lead before he cleared the field entering Turn 3 and approaching a long straightaway through Turns 4 and 5. As the field jostled for positions, Elliott retained the top spot by a tenth of a second over teammate Larson while Reddick battled Chastain for third place. 

Just past the Lap 20 mark, Elliott continued to lead by more than a second over teammate Larson followed by Reddick, Chastain and McDowell while Buescher, Custer, Truex, Suarez and Bell were in the top 10. By then, Byron was in 12th, Blaney was in 15th, Briscoe was mired in 17th ahead of teammate Harvick and Cindric, Bubba Wallace was back in 20th ahead of teammate Kurt Busch, Logano was back in 24th in between Bowman and Allmendinger and Hamlin was in 29th ahead of teammate Kyle Busch following his pit road penalty.

Three laps later, Larson went wide in Turn 5 and lost the runner-up spot to Reddick while Elliott cruised with a lead of nearly three seconds. Shortly after, Logano made contact with Wallace as both spun in Turn 5 while battling towards the top 20.

By Lap 25, Elliott stabilized his advantage to more than four seconds over Reddick while Larson, Chastain and McDowell stabilized themselves in the top five. By then, Byron was in eighth place behind Buescher and Custer while Suarez and Truex filled in the final spots in the top 10. Following his spin, Logano was mired back in 31st behind Wallace.

Two laps later, another cycle of green-flag pit stops occurred as McDowell, Buescher, Custer, Byron, Suarez, Truex, Keselowski, Bell, Austin Dillon, Chastain, Briscoe, Bowman, Allmendinger, Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Todd Gilliland and Stenhouse pitted while Elliott continued to lead. Just as Lap 28 struck, Elliott pitted followed by Reddick, Larson and Chastain while Blaney assumed the lead. Following the pit stops, Keselowski was penalized for driving through too many pit boxes prior to his own while Kyle Busch was also penalized for having a crew member jump over the wall too soon. In addition, Gilliland was penalized for pitting outside of his pit box,

When the second stage concluded on Lap 30, Blaney captured his fifth stage victory of the season. Joey Hand settled in second followed by Ty Dillon, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Wallace, Elliott and Reddick. By then, Logano ran his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang off the track between Turns 13 and 14 while racing in front of Wallace. In addition, Byron pitted for a second time to address a loose right-front wheel.

Under the stage break, some led by Blaney pitted while the rest led by Elliott remained on the track. 

With 30 laps remaining and the event surpassing its halfway mark, the final stage started under green as Elliott and Reddick occupied the front row. At the start, Elliott and Reddick dueled for the lead through the first turn until Elliott managed to clear the field through Turn 3. With Reddick in second, Larson overtook Chastain for third place. He then tried to overtake Reddick for the runner-up spot but went briefly wide in Turn 5 as he was quickly overtaken by Chastain while Suarez was in fifth. Then in Turn 12, Elliott went briefly wide, but he managed to retain the lead ahead of Reddick as the field returned to the start/finish line.

Two laps later, Wallace got loose entering the first turn, made contact with Keselowski and spun through the gravel trap, though he continued without drawing a caution.

Another three laps later, Elliott stabilized his advantage to nearly a second over Reddick followed by Larson, Reddick and Suarez while McDowell, Buscher, Austin Dillon, Cindric and Truex were in the top 10. Bell was in 11th ahead of Harvick, Briscoe, Allmendinger and Bowman while Stenhouse, Custer, Hamlin, Blaney and Erik Jones were in the top 20.

Nearing the final 20 laps of the event, another cycle of green-flag pit stops ignited as Truex pitted followed by teammate Kyle Busch, Gilliland and Josh Bilicki. Three laps earlier, Keselowski, who made contact with the wall in Turn 11, pitted while Elliott continued to lead.

With 20 laps remaining, more competitors peeled off to pit road, among which included Bell, Allmendinger, Harvick, Buescher, Almirola, McDowell and Wallace. By then, Kyle Busch was penalized for speeding his No. 18 Skittles Toyota TRD Camry on pit road. During the following lap, Elliott pitted followed by runner-up Reddick, Larson, Chastain, Suarez, Cindric, Austin Dillon, Bowman and Briscoe.

Following the pit stops, Elliott managed to exit pit road ahead of Reddick, but Reddick started to issue his own bid on Elliott as he got close to Elliott’s rear bumper. Elliott, however, managed to remain ahead of Reddick while Blaney, who had yet to pit, was leading.

Then with 17 laps remaining, Reddick battled and overtook Elliott for position through Turn 6 after Elliott missed the turn in Turn 5. By then, Hamlin, who had yet to pit, was leading while Blaney, Ty Dillon, Kurt Busch, Stenhouse, Custer, Erik Jones and Byron pitted. Once Hamlin and Hand pitted, Harrison Burton, who had yet to pit, moved into the lead while Reddick and Elliott made their way to second and third. 

When the race reached its final 15-lap mark, Reddick cycled his No. 8 3Chi Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 into the lead while Elliott was left to battle Harrison Burton, who remained on the track for another lap, for the runner-up spot. 

Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Reddick was leading by seven-tenths of a second over Elliott while Larson, Chastain and Buescher were in the top five. Suarez was in sixth while Cindric, Truex, McDowell and Harvick occupied the top 10. Mired in 11th was Allmendinger while Austin Dillon, Bowman, Briscoe, Bell, Blaney, Custer, Stenhouse, Hamlin and Byron were in the top 20. 

Three laps later, Wallace pulled his No. 23 Columbia Toyota TRD Camry off the course in Turn 5 due to a brake issue while Reddick continued to lead by half a second over Elliott. 

Down to the final five laps of the event, Reddick, who remained the leader while smoothly and methodically navigating his way through every turn, stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Elliott. Meanwhile, third-place Larson, who had Kevin Meendering calling the shots while Cliff Daniels was suspended for the loose wheel at Sonoma Raceway, trailed by more than 15 seconds in his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 while Chastain and Buescher were in the top five.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Reddick extended his advantage to nearly four seconds over Elliott. By then, teammate Austin Dillon was slowly limping his way around the circuit after losing a left-front tire while the event remained under green. Having a clear view in front of him and with Elliott not being able to narrow the deficit, Reddick, who remained cautious through every turn for a final turn, cycled his way through the uphill climb to the finish line and claim his first checkered flag in the Cup Series following five runner-up results.

With the victory, Reddick became the fifth first-time winner of the 2022 Cup season, the third to claim a first Cup victory on a road course and the 203rd different competitor to achieve a victory in NASCAR’s premier series. He also became the 13th different competitor to win through the first 18 events of this season and to be guaranteed a spot for the 2022 Cup Series Playoffs. Reddick’s first Cup victory was also the first in the series for crew chief Randall Burnett, who guided Reddick to the 2019 Xfinity Series championship, and for Richard Childress Racing since the organization last won at Texas Motor Speedway with Austin Dillon in July 2020. By becoming the 10th different competitor to win a Cup event while driving for Richard Childress Racing, Reddick also delivered the 110th career win for the organization and he became the 41st different competitor to achieve a victory across NASCAR’s top three national touring series (Camping World Truck, Xfinity and Cup).

“I definitely knew [Elliott] was fast,” Reddick, who was congratulated by multiple competitors during the cooldown lap, said on USA Network. “We could stay with him on the long run, which told me if we cycle through that last pit sequence, we would be close or get around him, we have a great shot. [I] Didn’t quite get around him. We were within reach and thankfully, just waited for the right opportunity and was able to take advantage to it in Turn 6. I thought he was gonna run me back down. I started to makes some mistakes, started to take care of the brakes. Turns out, I didn’t need to and yeah, we were in good shape there. What a day.”

“We had to [put the pressure],” Reddick added. “What better place than Road America! I love the fans. I love this racetrack. Being here on the Fourth of July weekend is just so special. We got it done. We won the race. [Crew chief] Randall’s [Burnett] been working on this for a very long time. He’s always believed in me. Everyone on this team at Richard Childress Racing has believed in me. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but man, this year’s been the one-step, one mistake away from greatness all year long and we finally did it today.”

“The biggest thing [I told Reddick was] it’s coming,” Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing, said. “We just can’t beat ourself. We beat ourself a few times and we got beat a few times, but today, when you beat the best, which is Chase Elliott, it was a great win for us. We’re still here hammering away. I’m just so happy for Tyler. I knew watching him back in the Trucks, then he went to Xfinity and won the championship, I knew he could do it and here we are. He’s got that will to do whatever it takes to get up there and win the race. He’s got it in his heart to be a winner and that’s what he wants to be. Now, he wants to be a champion and I think we can push him into it.”

Elliott, who led a race-high 36 laps and was coming off his recent victory at Nashville Superspeedway, settled in second place for the first time of this season while teammate Larson, Chastain and Suarez finished in the top five.

“First off, congrats to [Reddick],” Elliott said. “I know he’s been super close to that first win. I’ve been down that road and it can be a rocky one, so I’m happy for those guys. They deserve it. For us, just proud of our NAPA team. I didn’t do a very good job there. I just let him stay close enough to pressure me there while we had decent tires. Never could get enough of a gap. Made a couple of mistakes. I was gaining a gap a couple of times and made a couple of mistakes and let him get that close enough to get me out of sync. After that, [I] started struggling and obviously, it was super difficult to get somebody to pass him. It was impressive that he was able to get up there and capitalize on my mistake…Appreciate the effort at our team. Wished I could’ve done a better job there. I felt like we probably needed a little bit, but I thought we were good enough to win, so those always hurt.”

“Tyler and Chase were really good throughout the duration of a run,” Larson said. “I seem to be OK early and then would kind of slowly fade away from them, so I don’t really know. I felt, honestly, pretty good, but they must’ve just had better grip and they’re really good road racers, probably a little bit better than I am. It was a good, clean race for us. Happy to get a top-three [finish]. It was successful for my standards.”

“Incredible day for Trackhouse [Racing], Team Chevy as a whole,” Chastain said. “To sweep the top five for Team Chevy and to control the race all day is incredible work for what we’re doing. To prepare to come to the track for both the car and the driver side. Hats off to everybody involved on both sides. I can’t ask for much more.”

“I think it’s not just Ross and myself,” Suarez said. “It’s everyone at Trackhouse. Every man and woman that is working very hard to put fast race cars every single weekend. We have a lot of great people and great sponsors. It was very good. I also felt like, Ross and I, we’ve been doing a decent job, but today, we didn’t have the best car. We were probably a top-10 to top-seven car, and that’s kind of where we finished. We have to go back home and try to see what we can keep on improving.” 

Buescher, Cindric, McDowell, Allmendinger and Harvick completed the top 10 on the track. Notably, Blaney, Bowman, Truex, Briscoe and Custer finished in the top 15 followed by Byron, Hamlin, Bell, Stenhouse and Ty Dillon. Kurt Busch finished 23rd, Logano ended up 27th ahead of Almirola and Kyle Busch concluded his long afternoon in 29th, the final competitor on the lead lap.

There were eight lead changes for six different leaders. The race featured two cautions for two laps.

With eight regular-season races remaining this season, Chase Elliott leads the regular-season standings by 33 points over Ryan Blaney, 35 over Ross Chastain, 71 over Kyle Larson, 73 over Joey Logano, 77 over Kyle Busch, and 84 over Martin Truex Jr. 

Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, rookie Austin Cindric, Kurt Busch, Chase Briscoe and Daniel Suarez are currently guaranteed spots for the 2022 Cup Series Playoffs based on winning once throughout the regular-season stretch while Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell are above the top-16 cutline based on points. Kevin Harvick trails the top-16 cutline by 20 points, Aric Almirola trails by 47 points, Erik Jones trails by 85 points, Austin Dillon trails by 94 points, Michael McDowell trails by 115 points, Chris Buescher trails by 143, Justin Haley trails by 155 points, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. trails by 172 points, Bubba Wallace trails by 177 points.

Results.

1. Tyler Reddick, 16 laps led

2. Chase Elliott, 36 laps led

3. Kyle Larson

4. Ross Chastain

5. Daniel Suarez

6. Chris Buescher

7. Austin Cindric

8. Michael McDowell

9. AJ Allmendinger

10. Kevin Harvick

11. Ryan Blaney, four laps led, Stage 2 winner

12. Alex Bowman

13. Martin Truex Jr.

14. Chase Briscoe, four laps led, Stage 1 winner

15. Cole Custer

16. William Byron

17. Denny Hamlin, one lap led

18. Christopher Bell

19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

20. Ty Dillon

21. Joey Hand

22. Harrison Burton, one lap led

23. Kurt Busch

24. Justin Haley

25. Todd Gilliland

26. Erik Jones

27. Joey Logano

28. Aric Almirola

29. Kyle Busch

30. Kyle Tilley, one lap down

31. Austin Dillon – OUT, Brakes

32. Cody Ware, three laps down

33. Brad Keselowski, four laps down

34. Corey LaJoie, five laps down

35. Bubba Wallace – OUT, Brakes

36. Josh Bilicki, 10 laps down

37. Loris Hezemans – OUT, Fuel pump

Next on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the series’ second visit of the season at the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. The event is scheduled to occur on Sunday, July 10, at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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