RACING

The ripple effects of Tyler Reddick leaving RCR for 23XI in 2024

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By Bob Pockras
FOX Sports Writer NASCAR

LOUDON, NH — Tyler Red Dick is most likely in the next 16 troublesome months as a Richard Childress Racing driver who has already signed a contract to race for 23XI Racing from 2024.

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His teammate, Austin Dillon, recently joked that it will be awkward for everyone.

“If you’ve worked with Tyler Reddick, it’s always awkward,” Dillon said. “So it’s nothing new. Tyler is a good guy, he and I have a good relationship. He’s just different.”

Austin Dillon on Tyler Reddick leaving the RCR

Austin Dillon on Tyler Reddick leaving the RCR

Austin Dillon says he has a good relationship with Tyler Reddick and hasn’t discussed RCR wanting a Reddick car change for 2023.

Dillon said he congratulated Reddick on his new contract, but the fallout from the decision dominated the conversation in the NASCAR garage last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

RCR had already picked up Reddick’s 2023 option but hadn’t signed him to a new deal as they worked to find sponsors to lock in Reddick for the next few years. Reddick – considered one of the best young drivers as a two-time Xfinity champion, it was only a matter of experience before vying for Cup titles – chose to take up the offer from 23XI Racing to ensure his future when no long-term deal was presented to him.

The ripple effects of the decision are numerous.

“It’s probably more awkward in the beginning than it really is once you start the race,” Kevin Harvick said. “At the moment, the hardest thing is to answer all the questions and get through this aspect of things.”

Kevin Harvick on Reddick leaving the RCR

Kevin Harvick on Reddick leaving the RCR

Based on his previous experience in similar circumstances, Kevin Harvick offers his thoughts on what Tyler Reddick will handle over the next 16 months.

Harvick can identify with Reddick. At the end of the 2012 season, he told RCR that 2013 would be his last year with the team before moving to Stewart-Haas Racing. He won the weekend the news broke and then four times the following year, although he nearly lost the race when he made derogatory comments about Dillon, Childress’ grandson.

“In a situation like that, you’re probably working almost harder to make it as good as possible just because your reputation is important to being able to walk away from something like this on a business side of things as you go along. , “said Harvick.

The more obvious question is if there is a way for RCR and Reddick to part ways after this season. It would take a lot of work to get there, and the bigger question is whether it would be worth it without a driver of Reddick’s caliber readily available. Yes, there are bruised egos, but Reddick still gives the team a chance to win and make the playoffs.

Under NASCAR’s current payout plan, a team’s finish in the final standings determines earnings for the next three years. So it makes good business sense for RCR to aim to finish as high as possible.

Childress was not in New Hampshire, but Reddick and 23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin both said they had no discussions about moving Reddick a year earlier. Reddick also said he wasn’t asked to see if a team could take him next year.

“I didn’t think about it,” he said. “I’m going to come out here and do what I do every weekend for this team. …I fully intend to finish everything I’ve agreed to do with the RCR.”

Tyler Reddick on possibly leaving RCR at the end of 2022

Tyler Reddick on possibly leaving RCR at the end of 2022

Tyler Reddick says he hasn’t had any discussions with anyone at RCR about him leaving after this season.

Dillon also said he heard nothing of that speech.

“From our side, we have to consider this as a business decision on everything we do,” he said.

There’s no room for the 23XI in 2023 anyway, as the organization already has its drivers in Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace. Reddick’s announcement hinted that Busch will retire after his two-year deal ends in 2023. He discussed the possibility of retiring before this season, then opted for the two-year contract with 23XI. He said recent news did not change his timeline.

“It’s a question of which is the right option,” Busch said. “And when all the signs point to this or that, the big thing I have right now is a lot of respect from the racing team. … They all said I had a seat for as long as I wanted it.

“It’s so valuable to me. It makes me smile and I want to run harder and work harder. So there are still a lot of options we are looking at.”

If Busch chooses to continue driving, 23XI Racing will have to purchase a charter, as Wallace’s spot looks secure for at least a few more years.

Kurt Busch: Reddick signing doesn’t change timeline

Kurt Busch: Reddick signing doesn't change timeline

Kurt Busch says the signing of Tyler Reddick by 23XI Racing from 2024 will not factor into his decision to retire after the 2023 season.

With Reddick out of the market, the ripple effects go beyond RCR and 23XI. Other drivers who are free agents may be in more demand now that teams won’t worry about needing the money to sign Reddick. Kyle Busch still has no contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, which is trying to find a sponsor to replace M&M’s.

“No matter how long or how late this is – until there’s an announcement that someone else is driving car 18, I feel like I still have a seat,” Busch said.

Busch confirmed discussions with other teams have resumed.

“Anything is possible,” he said. “There are all sorts of different things that can play out. It’s just a matter of what happens.”

Joe Gibbs said the team continues to work to sign Busch.

“We’re working really hard to try to get things done, and it’s tough,” Gibbs said. “You have to put a lot of things in place to make things work, and we’re working as hard as we can. We’re going in a lot of different directions.”

Kyle Busch on future plans

Kyle Busch on future plans

Kyle Busch says until someone else is announced to drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 car, he thinks he has a seat.

It could also mean teams taking another look at Erik Jones, who has said he is close to signing a deal to stay at Petty GMS Racing. Petty GMS has already announced that Jones’ teammate Ty Dillon will not be returning. Noah Gragson is considered the leading candidate for this race.

These decisions tend to align with sponsorships, and this is the time of year when sponsorships need to be renewed. This is probably what makes it difficult for the CPR.

“Obviously that puts the current team in a tough spot just because they probably haven’t done most of their sponsorship business because [the Reddick announcement] happened so soon,” Harvick said. “Usually this stuff happens in August, September, November. From the team side, that will probably be the hardest part.”

While drivers may be nervous about their future right now, Reddick need only wonder what’s next.

“He was very adamant that he and I are going to go out there and push together the rest of our time, try to win races and bring him back to RCR,” Dillon said.

“And that’s what I was mainly focusing on – trying to make sure that… all the men and women back at the store who have worked hard, they know that we are focused on winning the championship with these two cars. “

Denny Hamlin on hiring Tyler Reddick for 24

Denny Hamlin on hiring Tyler Reddick for 24

Denny Hamlin says Tyler Reddick’s decision to join 23XI Racing in 2024 gives the organization a sense of legitimacy.

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Thinking out loud

With the threat of having more winners than playoff berths this season, it was suggested not to limit the number of playoff berths if there are more than 16 winners in the regular season.

The idea is that the first round could eliminate as many drivers as necessary to go down to 12. If there are 18 winners, then six could be eliminated in the first round.

It’s not a horrible idea, but the drama of whether someone with a win might not make the playoffs adds some interest to the regular season. This is another reason drivers with a win will keep pushing throughout the regular season.

The playoffs in all sports are designed to create a sense of urgency and weed out those who don’t perform in the regular season. A one-win year in a parity season should require some consistency in points.

So while this idea has merit, let’s keep the playoff field capped at 16. This system has worked for several years and it doesn’t need to be changed.

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Statistics of the day

This season’s 14 winners across the first 20 Cup races are tied for the most of all time.

They said it

“I felt like we were close to winning – and then the last two weeks I felt like we were pretty far away. But we’re there today.” — Christopher Bell after his victory in New Hampshire

Bob Pockrass has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 after stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR newsletter with Bob Pockrass!


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