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Tyler Reddick Scores Top Five Finish at COTA

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick pre-race at COTA. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

DEL VALLE, Texas — Tyler Reddick came into the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix as the defending winner, as since the introduction of the Next Gen car, Reddick has been a force on the road courses.

Reddick had a great qualifying effort on Saturday, making the final round and earning a third-place starting position. That sets up a chance for Reddick to have a strong race after an inconsistent start to the 2024 season.

The race went green with Reddick in the inside lane behind the pole sitter William Byron. Reddick used the inside position to move by Ty Gibbs going into Turn 1, moving up into second. By the end of Lap 1 though, Byron showed the rest of the field he would be the one to beat, putting a healthy gap between himself and Reddick.

On Lap 6, Byron had increased the gap to over three seconds, and in Turn 18, Reddick got passed by Gibbs, falling to third.

Stage 1 was only 15 laps long, so Reddick’s team decided they would pit before the end of the stage to gain better track position for the beginning of Stage 2, which he did on Lap 11 along with six other drivers.

By coming in on Lap 11, the 23XI Racing team attempted to undercut the leader and take advantage of Byron with fresher tires. Byron and his No. 24 team recognized and covered the move, pitting on Lap 13 and staying ahead of Reddick when the caution came out after the end of the first stage.

Even with pitting, Reddick still earned stage points, finishing in ninth.

Under the caution, all of the cars that stayed out to earn stage points came down pit road, besides Christopher Bell and Michael McDowell.

This cycled Reddick up into fifth when the race went back green on Lap 19.

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick driving at COTA. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

Reddick made his way back to third quickly, getting around Gibbs and McDowell to do so. On Lap 20, Byron got around Bell for the lead, which opened the door for Reddick to take second away from Bell as well on Lap 21.

The race continued green with Reddick still running strong in second until he made his green flag pit stop before the end of Stage 2 on Lap 27. Reddick once again tried the undercut on Byron and it again failed, but this time, he also lost position to Ross Chastain.

More cars stayed out to try and receive stage points in Stage 2, and as a result, Reddick finished the stage in 13th place.

The third and final stage went green on Lap 34 with Reddick in third place, lined up in the outside lane behind Chastain.

Going into Turn 1, Byron, who still led the race, locked up his tires and ran wide, opening the door for Chastain, Gibbs and Reddick to get by. Chastain and Gibbs were able to get by, but Reddick wasn’t and slid in behind Byron in the fourth position.

However, just a few laps later, Reddick began falling back for the first time all race. By Lap 38, he had dropped to seventh.

Reddick got back into the top five rather quickly, as drivers in front of him had issues. On Lap 39 Chase Elliott got assessed a pass-through penalty for short-cutting Turn 4, and on Lap 41 Bell got into the back of Kyle Busch going into Turn 1, spinning him out and allowing Reddick to move back into fifth place.

The race stayed green for the remaining laps, meaning green flag pit stops were coming.

After trying to undercut Byron during the last two pit stops to no success, Reddick’s team decided to pit after Byron and the other cars in front. Reddick inherited the lead for one lap after Byron, Chastain, Gibbs and Alex Bowman made their final stop and brought his No. 45 The Beast Unleashed Toyota Camry down pit road on Lap 47. The strategy didn’t work for Reddick and he came back on the track unable to gain any positioning once the cycle finished.

That kept Reddick in the fifth position where he would go on and finish the race as Byron claimed the win.

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick at COTA on Saturday. (Photo: Dylan Nadwodny | The Podium Finish)

The result was Reddick’s second top-five finish of the year and his best finish since the beginning of the West Coast swing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Reddick doesn’t have a grade for his team’s success thus far in 2024 but knows Sunday’s top-five run was needed.

“We ran fifth, we ran good,” Reddick told Rob Tiongson after the race. “We’re where we want to be, but we can obviously make improvements.”

The race was the first road course race with the new rules package, and Reddick liked what he saw.

“It’s more challenging in the braking zones and the car doesn’t drive quite as good,” Reddick shared. “I think that’s more of the direction that we need with the Next Gen car.”

Reddick and his No. 45 team head to Richmond Raceway for the seventh race of the 2024 season. The race is set for primetime on Easter Sunday — 7 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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