The pain of not making it past the first round of eliminations in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs was made a little more bearable for Tyler Reddick when he left Texas Motor Speedway with a victory last weekend.
Following a chaotic race plagued by tire failures and troubling crashes, Reddick emerged as the fourth non-playoff driver to win in the last four Cup Series races.
The Texas triumph was Reddick’s third of the season.
“It brought back some memories from the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol in 2019 when we came back to win that crazy race,” Reddick said. “It was really cool to overcome the amount of problems that we had, the incidents and issues that we had throughout our day.”
He recalled nearly 10 issues that the team struggled with in Texas, and gave credit to the Richard Childress Racing team for fighting through all of them.
“We were determined to push through it all and for us as a group. That’s what made it so sweet,” Reddick said.
As the objective has been all season, Reddick’s dream weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway requires a race day free of mistakes. Though his performance in Texas was successful in spite of the difficulties that arose, he’s hoping that the team has managed to iron out the wrinkles in their strategy.
“We’re winning races and that’s what we’ll keep trying to do,” Reddick said.
He may be out of the playoffs — coming up two points short of entering the Round of 12 after eliminations at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway – but he’s not ready to call it a season just yet.
Reddick’s RCR teammate Austin Dillon was also eliminated from the playoffs during the Bristol Night Race after his No. 3 Chevrolet was involved in a multi-car crash, resulting in a 31st-place finish.
However, heading to Talladega, Dillon has some encouraging history on his side.
When the Cup Series made its spring visit to Talladega earlier this year, Dillon came away with a second-place finish — his best result at the track. He’ll be looking to better that performance this time around.
“I always feel like you’ve got something when you win on a certain type of track,” Dillon said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of luck involved as well, but the important thing is that there are opportunities to make your own luck.”
His plan: Work hard, stay on target and stay one step ahead of the competition.
“We’ve just got to stay focused and see if we can play the same kind of chess match that we did earlier this year,” Dillon said. “Anything can happen at Talladega Superspeedway.”
He’ll be biding his time to the end of the race to take advantage of any available positions, using whatever momentum he can to score his first win at the 2.66-mile track.
Qualifying for the Cup Series will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the race starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.