RACING

No time for RCR, Tyler Reddick to look back; the focus turns to the track

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LOUDON, NH — While car owner Richard Childress hasn’t spoken publicly about Tyler Reddick’s signing this week with 23XI Racing for the 2024 season, RCR driver Austin Dillon has raised questions about the impact the announcement could have on Reddick’s team.

Richard Childress Racing has not commented since issuing a statement on Tuesday which read in part: The “the timing of this announcement couldn’t be worse.”

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Dillon repeated that statement Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and explained the challenges he sees for Reddick’s team.

“I think the most important thing, despite all the hard work and effort your guys have put in for you, it may affect you before the playoffs, even if you say it won’t,” said Dillon. “There is probably an effect going on there. Besides the fact that you have sponsors and different things throughout the year. It’s hard.

“Is there a good time? I’m sure that’s what they’ll say, is there ever a good time?

“On our side, yes, there is probably a better time – when the season is over. Then you talk about it and figure out the best way to move forward. Mid-season everyone is really focused on trying to win races and that can be tough.

Reddick reiterated his commitment to Richard Childress Racing on Saturday and throughout the 2023 season. He will start 13th in Sunday’s Cup race (3 p.m. ET on USA Network).

“The good thing is that I have a lot of time left to continue doing what I wanted to come to the RCR and do,” Reddick said. “It’s winning races and trying to put us in contention…for championships. I have a very good team behind me and I am behind them.

Dillon said he called Reddick after the announcement and said, “I enjoyed working with you, congratulations on your new contract.”

Dillon said Reddick “has been very adamant he and I are going to push each other the rest of our time together trying to win races at RCR.”

Denny Hamlin, co-owner of 23XI Racing, said on Saturday the team was not looking to have Reddick drive for the team next year. Childress previously opted out of Reddick’s contact for next season.

Kurt Busch said Saturday his plans haven’t changed beyond next season because the team signed Reddick.

Hamlin says car #45 is Busch’s for as long as he wants.

“It makes me smile and I want to run harder and work harder,” Busch said of Hamlin’s comments. “There are still a lot of options that we are looking at.”

Although there are plenty of other things for 23XI Racing to figure out – how many cars it will have in 2024, who will be Reddick’s sponsor and crew, etc. – Reddick also faces the possibility of having to mend his relationship with Childress.

Kevin Harvick knows what that can look like.

News broke at the end of the 2012 season that Harvick would be driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, leaving him one final season with RCR – a team that got him to NASCAR and put him in a Cup car. since 2001.

While Harvick won four races and finished third in his final season with Richard Childress Racing, things weren’t always easy with Childress.

Harvick said it took “probably a few years to have really good, meaningful conversations” with Childress.

“There were definitely a few things I would have done differently,” Harvick said. “I still went into Richard’s office and told him myself, and we had a firm understanding where everyone stood with everything and understood contracts and situations that were off limits. That was really the hardest part. I knew I had to tell him myself in person.

How was it?

“It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in my entire life,” Harvick said.

He said it was helpful to talk to Childress.

“For me, that was the most important thing, that I look back now that I’ve done well and that I can go back and fix those emotional situations and be able to have a good relationship as you move forward,” Harvick said.

“In that garage you always want to be able to have those relationships because you might go back and have to drive that car or work for that person, you never know what the scenarios are.”

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