INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler Reddick earned his first career Cup victory this month, qualified for the NASCAR playoffs and signed a big contract with a new team.
Now he has a win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Reddick capped the best month of his career with an overtime win Sunday at Indy’s road course to give him two wins in the last five Cup races.
“So I’m not going to lie, I watched a lot of racing on this site when I was a kid,” Reddick said. “A lot of amazing drivers have won at this circuit and it’s really cool to be one of the drivers who have won here, and I’m really happy about that.”
Reddick earned his first career win on July 3 at Road America in Wisconsin, then announced nine days later that he was leaving Richard Childress Racing in 2024 to drive for 23XI, the team owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
Victory No. 2 looked to be easily within reach as Reddick was comfortably in the lead for 15 laps down when debris from Christopher Bell’s car prompted the fourth caution of the race with just six to go.
He set up a restart with three laps to go and Reddick lined up alongside road course ace Chase Elliott, who briefly passed Reddick to take the lead until he was spun for a another warning that sent the race into overtime.
On the following restart, Reddick had to hold off defending winner AJ Allmendinger, who also won the Xfinity Series on Saturday. But Allmendinger was physically exhausted and struggling because his cooling device hadn’t worked the entire race, and he hardly challenged Reddick.
Allmendinger collapsed while getting out of his car. His wife and team staff were seen draping his head in wet towels and pouring water over him before Allmendinger was taken to the care centre.
So it was Ross Chastain who pushed Reddick to go to the Yard of Bricks.
Chastain completely missed turn one and used the access road to get back on the race course ahead of Reddick and the apparent new leader. Reddick chased him for an entire lap around the 2.439-mile course and eventually regained the lead in time to lead the entire final lap.
“I couldn’t believe he beat me to it,” Reddick said. “I was kind of waiting to see if he was going to get a penalty because I didn’t want to dismiss him and make his run worse than it was. But hey, we made it work. Hats off to Ross for trying to do that, but really glad it didn’t work because I would have been pretty [angry].”
NASCAR after the race penalized Chastain for using the access road, which dropped him to 27th overall.
“I thought we were four wide and couldn’t get any further to the right,” Chastain said, “and decided to take the NASCAR driveway there.”
Reddick’s win made him the first RCR rider since Kevin Harvick in 2013 to win multiple races in one season, and it brought multiple wins for RCR in one season for the first time since 2017.
It was the RCR’s fourth win at Indianapolis as Reddick joined Dale Earnhardt, Harvick and Paul Menard as Indy winners for Richard Childress. The previous three wins were on the Brickyard oval.
But Childress still seemed chapped by Reddick’s early decision to leave in 18 months, specifically citing his cordial split with Harvick at the end of the 2013 season.
“Well Kevin and I discussed his whole deal and we made a joint announcement. He won four races that year and we almost won the championship,” Childress said. “This one didn’t turn out that way.”
But the owner said he would always celebrate with Reddick and his sponsors, and he was later at Reddick’s side for the usual brick-kissing celebration.
“I will congratulate him. I will congratulate the whole team,” Childress said. “The whole team did a great job.”
Austin Cindric, who drives for track owner Roger Penske, finished second in a Ford and was followed by fellow rookie Harrison Burton, who was a career-best third for Wood Brothers Racing. The No. 21 Ford that Burton drives is an offshoot of Team Penske.
Todd Gilliland finished fourth for his best career finish, and the rookie led his first career Cup laps as he led for four laps in the final stage.
Bubba Wallace in a Toyota for 23XI finished fifth and followed by Penske’s Joey Logano and finally Allmendinger, who dropped to seventh when overtime resumed. Michael McDowell finished eighth and followed by Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing and Chris Buescher of RFK Racing, as the Ford drivers took seven of the top 10 spots in a race won by a Chevy.
Chevrolet has now won 10 consecutive Cup races on road circuits since the manufacturer’s 800th victory in 2021 at the Circuit of the Americas.