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FONTANA, Calif. – Two weeks ago, Tyler Reddick broke a transaxle while leading the Busch Light Clash Main Event at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Shaking it all off, he focused on the start of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season.
Fast forward and the return to California didn’t sit well with him. After leading 90 laps, most of the race and more than all of his previous Cup races combined, Reddick again fell into the grip of misfortune. A flat left rear tire led to a loose exit from Turn 2, where William Byron misjudged the arc of his exit. Byron, who was arguably Reddick’s biggest challenger all day, slammed into the side of the #8 machine and spun down the track. The collision prompted a warning to slow the race. He eventually left Byron with a DNF result, while Reddick limped to pit road.
“Absolutely disgusted with how our race went,” Reddick said after the Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway. “But I couldn’t be more proud of this whole team and what we were able to do the majority of this race today.”
It wasn’t just Reddick’s Richard Childress Racing car shining in the California sun. His teammate Austin Dillon powered his #3 Chevrolet Camaro to a second-place finish, avoiding late-race spins. Both are looking to take their aggression to the next level as NASCAR continues its West Coast swing.
“We will learn from this; Reddick continued. “We will get stronger and we will be hungrier than ever. It was really fun to have all the Lenovo guests here today and it was really exciting to have such a solid run for them today.
“We’ll keep that momentum going in Las Vegas next week.”
Reddick finished the race a lap down in 24th, but with the points he earned from winning both stages, the California native now sits 21st in the championship standings. If he can gain 11 places on a result like today’s, there is no shortage of reasons for optimism around their camp.
And with the Next Gen car carrying so many unknowns this year, Reddick could be the one to become NASCAR’s 200th Cup Series winner.