Reddick Calmly Wins Wild One in Kansas

You need to know the name Tyler Reddick. It belongs to a 27-year-old driver from California who is becoming a force in NASCAR.

The racer’s win at Kansas on Sunday in the second race of the first round of the playoffs put him in the Round of 12 and thus guaranteed the best points finish of his career. The racer in his fourth full season in the Cup Series was 14th, 13th and 19th the previous three seasons but now is breaking new personal ground in his first go-round with 23XI Racing.

“Chaos ensued,” Reddick said after his three-wide move in overtime vaulted him from fifth on the restart to the checkered flag. It was his second win of the season and fifth in the past two seasons. “People stayed out, some took two tires, and the bottom opened up. Pretty crazy.”

Crazy describes the day for plenty of drivers on the 1.5-mile oval that has become a thriller on the schedule. Denny Hamlin led 63 laps (giving him 240 in the first two playoff runs) and took second in the hot finish. Regular-season champion Martin Truex Jr. found trouble on Lap 4 and plummeted just below the cut line, now sitting 13th in the standings. Stage 1 runner-up Bubba Wallace cut a tire, missing a golden chance to climb the ladder and is now 19 points under the cutoff. Ross Chastain experienced an engine shutdown, lost a lap and finished 19th.

Panini America NASCAR Brand Ambassador Joey Logano managed his Team Penske No. 22 Ford Mustang with a veteran’s touch and brought it home fifth to hold down 11th on the points chart.

“We needed it,” said the defending series champion, now 12 points to the good on the bubble, with Kevin Harvick in 12th, seven points above the cut line.

Kyle Larson — safely in the Round of 12 behind his Darlington win — led the most laps and continued to give the impression of a driver rounding into championship form. He and Reddick can race pressure-free as the first round closes on Saturday night on the short track in Bristol, Tenn. (And you can’t blame Reddick if he has Texas on his mind, since it’s another intermediate track and the first race of the second round — but more on that later).

Hamlin can also feel reasonably comfortable with a 49-point cushion heading into Bristol, where he’s won twice (2012 and 2019) and has four top-10s in the last six starts. William Byron has a 41-point pad, and Brad Keselowski is up 33 points.

“Hats off to the Yahoo! Camry TRD team,” Hamlin said after his Kansas showing. “Another really, really fast car. Just didn’t need that caution at the end.”

The rest of the top 10 in the standings includes Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Chastain, Chris Buescher and Christopher Bell.

In 15th and 16th are a pair of Daytona 500 champs, Ricky Stenhouse Jr (2023) and Michael McDowell (2021). They have an uphill climb, but in the playoffs, a win cures all.

“We scored points in Stage 1, and to get a top-10, that’s what we needed to do,” said Bell, who was eighth in his No. 20 Toyota Camry TRD. “I wish I had Darlington back, but we will move on to Bristol.”

See you in Tennessee!

Related Links:

Larson Opens Playoffs with Big Victory

Drivers Start Their Engines for NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs



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