HAMPTON, Ga. – If someone texted or told Tyler Reddick that he would complete all 260 laps of Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400 several hours before the race, he would have shown his sheepish grin.
All things considered, Reddick appeared set on a start and substitute kind of race day. With John Hunter Nemechek, a Toyota teammate, ready to relieve the ailing Corning, California native, Reddick decided that the best medicine was competing in a race that lasted 2 hours and 53 minutes.
Starting in the 16th position, Reddick bided his time, slipping five spots by the conclusion of Stage 1. Despite the less than ideal start, Reddick remained in his No. 45. Xfinity 10G Network Toyota Camry, prepared to push in the race’s final two stages, each set to 100 laps.
A clean, efficient performance in Stage 2 resulted in a strong fourth for Reddick and crew chief Billy Scott.
Suddenly, it appeared that the fifth year NASCAR Cup Series racer was ready to be in the mix with the fast Fords. However, Reddick’s Stage 3 was off to a rather auspicious start as one of 12 drivers involved in a Lap 190 backstretch crash.
Unlike select contenders whose afternoon effectively ended from the backstretch mayhem, Reddick remained in the fight and in contention.
In this case, Reddick’s tenacity and his No. 45 team’s determined outlook paid off in terms of logging a respectable fifth place finish.
Like any competitive racer, Reddick will mull over an afternoon in which he could have possibly emerged victorious.
“We’ll try to just go back and look at it,” Reddick said. “Our Xfinity Toyota Camry TRD was as fast as the Xfinity 10 G network. We had Toyotas lined up there and I didn’t know if that was our move there with all three together or Christopher (Bell) was going to do it on his own. We’ll talk about it for sure.”
Similarly, Reddick pondered as to why the Toyota brigade were unable to emerge victorious at the 1.54-mile track.
“I don’t know, maybe if we all would have went, it would have worked out for one of us,” he said. “I’m not really sure. It didn’t really work for one of us so it’s definitely something for us to think about so that one of us can win the race there. It’s a bummer that we let someone else get it done.”
Manufacturer alliances were as clear as possible at Atlanta, an intangible Reddick will consider ahead of next month’s GEICO 500 race weekend at Talladegal
“There was definitely some hard work going on. Joey (Logano) was doing Joey things,” he said. “He was making the bottom work really good. For me, I appreciate his (Brad Keselowski) comments there, he’s done a lot for me in my career in the past.”
“I was also at the same time trying to create an opportunity where all three – myself, Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin could all break away and take advantage of momentum. It didn’t quite work out timing wise as it needed to for that. All in all, it was an okay day.”