SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Earlier this season, Tyler Reddick won on the road course at Road America to get his first ever NASCAR Cup Series win. On Sunday, Reddick got win number two, also on a road course.
Reddick’s pit strategy paid off down the stretch as he took the checkered flag in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.
“My heart was beating out of my chest,” said Reddick. “When I saw the 1-car come in I didn’t know what to think, but I was able to get around him. This is really a special event. I know it’s not that race (the Brickyard 400), but special for sure.”
Reddick withstood a challenge for Penske driver Ryan Blaney, who had a bold two-stop pit strategy that saw him push his tires to the limit.
The race came down to whether to pursue a two or three-stop strategy. With stage cautions to consider, both options proved viable.
Reddick pitted before the end of the first stage in favor of track position. Blaney would stay out, pitting in the middle of Stage 2, going as many as 33 laps on his first set of tires. Reddick pitted again on Lap 32 along with Blaney, which put him on the same strategy as Blaney allowing him to undercut Blaney on the final round of stops later in the race.
All the while, AJ Allmendinger, who won the Xfinity race the day before, charged up through the field after starting just 18th. He would battle points leader Chase Elliott in the closing laps and eventually finish 3rd.
During the final round of stops, Blaney took fuel only, leaving on his tires from the previous stop 20 laps earlier. A stall on pit out cost Blaney some time and allowed Reddick to retake the lead down the stretch. Blaney’s tires faded at the end allowing Elliott and Allmendinger to overtake Blaney.
Reddick appeared to be crusinng towards the win, but a blown tired by Christopher Bell with eight laps to go brougth out the caution and bunched the field up for another restart. On that restart, Reddick battled Elliott into the first time and Elliott lit up his rear tires causing him to spin into Denny Hamlin.
Erik Jones, Austin Dillon, and Martin Truez, Jr also lost control bring out another caution.
In a green, white, checker finish, Tyler Reddick would be locked in a battle with Ross Chastain for the lead. On the restart, Chastain took the access road into Turn 1 to avoid a spin by Ryan Blaney. Chastain filtered out into second place and briefly had the lead over Reddick on the second to last lap.
Reddick got Chastain back to complete that lap. He would hold the lead for the final lap to take the win.
Subsequently, Chastain was penalized for improperly using the access road on the restart into Turn 1. That slotted Austin Cindric in to second-place. Chastain would end up 27th place with that penalty.
“I got a good start and got pushed into AJ. I was turning in and realized we were’nt going to make it so I took the access road.” said Chastain. “We were side by side with the #8, my understanding was if we take the access road and don’t gain, then we were fine. Obviously I might have misunderstood the rule”
The win for Reddick leaps him into 5th place in the NASCAR Cup season standings as far as the playoff race is concerned. Chase Elliott retained the lead for the regular season title and sits 12-points up on Ryan Blaney.
The series heads to Michigan next with just four races left before the start of the playoffs.