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Tyler Reddick Just Does It, Wins GEICO 500 at Talladega

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick celebrates a hard fought GEICO 500 win at Talladega. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

LINCOLN, Ala. — Tyler Reddick did not have to fly like an Eagle or jump like Michael Jordan to be a winner in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

In the past month, 28-year-old Corning, California, native was making some waves for his No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota Camry XSE team. Since finishing fifth at Circuit of the Americas in Del Valle, Texas, Reddick placed 10th at Richmond, seventh at Martinsville and fourth at Texas.

Climbing from 10th to eighth in the past four races, Reddick, a two-time NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, was on the cusps of winning his first race of the year. Impressively, the sixth-year Cup racer leapt from a season-low ranking of 26th after the second race of the year at Atlanta.

Qualifying 18th for Sunday’s 188-lap race, Reddick was a force to be reckoned with in his No. 45 Jordan Brand Toyota Camry XSE. Placing ninth in Stage 1, won by Austin Cindric, it was clear that the methodical racer was setting up for another solid effort at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

In Stage 2, Reddick finished sixth while Team Penske’s Joey Logano prevailed for the victory. Although the Ford Performance banner was strong in the early going at Talladega, Reddick and the Toyota Racing Development colors were lurking, ready to pounce when it mattered.

Considering Sunday’s frantic action, featuring 72 lead changes among 23 different drivers, Reddick led the sixth most laps, 13. On five different occasions, Reddick led the way, one of five different Toyota racers who occupied the lead.

With the race reaching its climax, Reddick worked his way back inside the top six, leading the outside line. Meanwhile, polesitter Michael McDowell hugged the yellow line, seemingly in position to nab his first Cup superspeedway win since the 2021 DAYTONA 500.

Each tantalizing circuit inside the final 18 laps was like a Jason Bourne movie. McDowell and Reddick engaged in their own, intense battle for the lead as Bourne would with avoiding any assets trying to derail his efforts to uncover his true identity.

On the final lap, Reddick, who remained on the outside line, seemed resigned to finish around fourth to sixth with McDowell in the catbird seat. Coming to the dogleg, McDowell attempted to block a hard charging Brad Keselowski tried to draw a bead on his fellow Ford Performance racer.

Hell broke loose as McDowell tangled with Keselowski. Although Keselowski wooed his car under control, McDowell spun in front of the lead pack, sending the field into a frantic mess.

In a split second, Reddick got a hardy push by Martin Truex Jr., getting a much needed boost to take the lead from Keselowski and eventual win by just 0.208 seconds.

After climbing the fence, Reddick celebrated his sixth career Cup win by saluting the fans.

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick won the battle of wills against the Fords in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“Man, it’s incredible,” Reddick said. “Everyone on this 45 Jordan Brand Toyota Camry worked really hard today. Didn’t really work out in that third stage for us, but we were able to fight and defend our track position. Was that crazy, fans? Chaos. That’s Talladega for you.”

No stranger to Talladega’s Victory Lane, having won the 2019 XFINITY Series spring race, Reddick tipped his cap to his Toyota teammates on Sunday afternoon.

“Yeah, just got to give a lot of credit to Ty Gibbs and Martin Truex Jr,” he said. “It was just us Toyotas left and they pushed me with everything they had so a huge credit to Martin and Ty. Without those pushes we don’t win this race.

“It was chaos. When you come to Talladega that’s what you expect. That’s for sure. So cool to get my second win here. First in the Cup car. Man, what a day.”

For a second consecutive week, Keselowski earned a runner-up result and his second straight podium finish. Considering all the madness around him and his peers, Keselowski thought he had the winning move set in motion before it all went wrong.

“The Fords were really working well together,” Keselowski said. “We cleared the Toyotas on the bottom lane and it was pretty clear it was gonna come down to the three of us. I backed up.

“Noah gave me a great push and I went to make a move on Michael and he covered it, and I went back the other way and got another push from Noah and there was nowhere to go when Michael came back down.”

Keselowski immediately expressed concern for McDowell, his fellow Ford Performance ally, after the final lap crash.

“I hate that for him,” he said. “He’s a good guy. I hope he’s alright. That’s just kind of the way this stuff goes, but, all in all it was a really solid day for us, for Ford and Castrol. It’s another second. It’s a solid day, but not the win we wanted.”

Noah Gragson rounded out the podium finishers with his career best finish of third. Despite coming up a few positions short, Gragson was satisfied with the result, earning his first top five finish and third top 10 of 2024.

“It’s coming to the end and the 6 and the 34 were blocking coming to the checkers and unfortunately the 45 squeaked by,” Gragson said. “I really wanted to see a Ford in Victory Lane, but the Overstock team at Stewart-Haas did a great job all day. We had clean pit stops, fast pit stops, a lot of horsepower under the hood. The Mustang Dark Horses and racing with these other Ford guys has been a lot of fun.

“I haven’t been up here very much in the Cup Series on these superspeedways, but I’m extremely grateful. It’s a privilege to race with guys like Keselowski and McDowell. I mean, they’ve won really big races on speedways, so, overall, I’m really thankful for everyone at Stewart-Haas and this Overstock team and we’ll keep the momentum going.”

All season long, Reddick has been on the precipice of winning a Cup race. He had the pace at Las Vegas and Phoenix. On weekends when he did not get the result he deserved, he had the pace and power to mix it up with the contenders.

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick celebrates his GEICO 500 win at Talladega with fiancee, Alexa, and son, Beau. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

Through it all, for Reddick, he does not need to dream like Mike as in Michael Jordan, one of the principal owners of 23XI Racing. At least on Sunday afternoon, he could dream to be himself, the latest winner of a NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“I wasn’t alone,” Reddick said. “I had Martin Truex Jr. and Ty Gibbs. Man, the Toyota guys – this is what we do. We’re a family. We work together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, unfortunately, like we saw earlier. Man, just appreciate all of the help there at the end.”

Stage 1 Top 10 Results
  1. Austin Cindric
  2. Chase Elliott
  3. William Byron
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Harrison Burton
  7. Christopher Bell
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Tyler Reddick
  10. Alex Bowman
Stage 2 Top 10 Results
  1. Joey Logano
  2. Austin Cindric
  3. Kyle Larson
  4. Austin Dillon
  5. Ross Chastain
  6. Tyler Reddick
  7. Chris Buescher
  8. Chase Elliott
  9. Ryan Preece
  10. Ty Gibbs
GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Race Results
Finish Start Car No. Driver Sponsor/Make Status
1 18 45 Tyler Reddick Jordan Brand Toyota Running
2 22 6 Brad Keselowski Castrol Edge Ford Running
3 36 10 Noah Gragson Ford Running
4 33 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Boost/Thomas’/Philadelphia Chevrolet Running
5 12 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet Running
6 24 62 Anthony Alfredo (i) Dude Wipes Chevrolet Running
7 13 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet Running
8 3 38 Todd Gilliland gener8tor Ford Running
9 19 31 Daniel Hemric Cirkul Chevrolet Running
10 16 21 Harrison Burton Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Running
11 6 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota Running
12 26 14 Chase Briscoe Mahnidra Tractors Ford Running
13 32 1 Ross Chastain Jockey Outdoors by Luke Bryan Chevrolet Running
14 11 41 Ryan Preece United Rentals Ford Running
15 9 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Running
16 29 4 Josh Berry (R) Ford Running
17 35 77 Carson Hocevar (R) Zeigler Auto Group Chevrolet Running
18 31 7 Corey LaJoie Gainbridge Chevrolet Running
19 7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford Running
20 21 12 Ryan Blaney Wabash Ford Running
21 38 5 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Running
22 15 54 Ty Gibbs Monster Energy Toyota Running
23 2 2 Austin Cindric Menards/Richmond Water Heaters Ford Running
24 34 15 Cody Ware Jacob Construction Ford Running
25 8 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford Running
26 25 99 Daniel Suárez Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet Running
27 4 8 Kyle Busch Cheddar’s Chevrolet Running
28 17 16 Shane van Gisbergen (i) Wendy’s Chevrolet Running
29 30 71 Zane Smith (R) Focused Health Chevrolet Running
30 5 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Running
31 1 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford Accident
32 37 78 BJ McLeod (i) Live Fast Motorsports Chevrolet Running
33 20 42 John Hunter Nemechek AdventHealth Toyota Running
34 27 51 Justin Haley Parts Plus Ford Running
35 28 43 Erik Jones Family Dollar Toyota Accident
36 14 23 Bubba Wallace Leidos Toyota Accident
37 23 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ultimate Fan Contest Toyota Accident
38 10 20 Christopher Bell Mobil 1 Toyota Accident

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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