It’s a good thing Tyler Reddick had a built-in vacation to relax after Sunday’s race at Road America. After the Independence Day fireworks ended on Monday night, the new NASCAR Cup Series winner knew he had to get back to work.
“Even though I tried to enjoy it, it was clouded a bit by what was ahead of me and knowing that all day I was going to be racing and this week was going to be crazy,” he said. Athleticism tuesday. “So it definitely changed my approach to the weekend and what I did after that.”
Reddick started his shortened week by climbing into the Chevrolet simulator at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, then had a pre-planned media duty block and was preparing to head to Washington DC for a pre-engagement later in the week. So while he was able to enjoy the aftermath of his win at Road America in the late hours of Sunday night and then at a friend’s house for a 4th of July party on Monday, Reddick didn’t really go out of his way to celebrate.
Parenting a toddler also played a role. When the Richard Childress Racing team plane touched down in North Carolina on Sunday night, everyone stopped by car chief Clay Alexander for a beer. But Reddick and his girlfriend, Alexa De Leon, still had their two-and-a-half-year-old son Beau with them, who had now woken up from his slumber on his way to victory.
“Everyone had babysitters and they stayed longer than we could,” Reddick said. “We didn’t have anyone available who could watch Beau, so we had to try to grow up as best we could. We had to go home and put him to bed and everyone got to celebrate, which is cool.
The original plan, as heard on national television, was for Reddick to crash a neighbor’s party named Antonio. But by the time they got home, the party had narrowed down to Antonio, his wife, children and close relatives – who were sitting in Reddick’s driveway awaiting his arrival.
“I tried to take advantage of it as much as possible in the moment,” Reddick said. “I’ve had a lot of successful people in the sport who share that with me, and I’ve lived it over the last two and a half, three years of how far you can go before you win a race.”
Now the focus is on what’s next. Team owner Richard Childress has previously expressed his optimism that the No.8 squad can qualify for the playoffs and said: “I really think we will be a contender for the championship. “
So does Reddick feel the same? It will depend on the team’s ability to execute what they did at Road America, he said.
“If we can do that, we can go as far as we want,” Reddick said. “It’s going to be a mental game. We didn’t let the year and its hardships stop us from winning a race, thankfully. We didn’t let all the things that went wrong play a part in how we approached our race.
And that’s crucial, because it shows that the team can stick together when things don’t seem to be going well. Reddick had tons of hype at the start of the season but suffered a series of disappointments last weekend that raised questions about whether the high expectations could be met. The driver said there “hasn’t been a single race up to Road America where we’ve had a smooth day”, and found these setbacks more taxing than usual given the increased speed of the team this season.
“The frustrations were hanging over all of us,” he said. “Certainly, when things were bad, it hurt a lot more than in years past.”
But Reddick said it was also a motivation for the team, who wanted to correct their shortcomings and deliver on the promise many had predicted. And from start to finish, Reddick said, Road America was the best race he’s driven in his Cup Series career.
“We got the mission, if you will,” he said. “We knew what we had to do at Road America, and we did it very well.”
But with eight races remaining until the playoffs, life goes on as normal for now. The holidays mean Atlanta’s race weekend is fast approaching, and Reddick has plenty to do in the meantime, including responding to over 350 congratulatory texts and feeding Beau, who had plenty of energy left over after jumping into and out of the pool for eight straight hours on Monday and could be heard screaming in the background of the interview.
“Sorry about that,” Reddick said. “Beautiful is really want milk.
(Photo: Mike Dinovo/USA Today)