Tyler Reddick had everything going his way for 151 laps during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway. But the 152nd lap, in which the left rear tire blew on his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, ended Reddick’s chance of contending for his first NASCAR Cup Series.
Even worse, it happened as Reddick was leading.
Making his way toward Turn 1, Reddick felt the left rear blow but was able to slow and keep control before reaching the corner. As the field drove past, Reddick kept his car near the wall with hopes of making it back around to pit road when William Byron got loose underneath him at the exit of Turn 2. Byron shot to the right and collided with Reddick, who then bounced off the wall.
“Absolutely gutted by how our race unfolded, but I couldn’t be prouder of this whole team and what we were able to do a majority of this race today,” Reddick said. “We will learn from this; we will become stronger from this and be hungrier than ever before.”
The crash made the car practically undriveable, and after what repairs the No. 8 team could make, Reddick limped to a 24th place finish off the lead lap. Reddick led 10 times for a total of 90 laps, a race-high, and swept both stages.
While the result wasn’t what Reddick was looking for, the performance was one of the best single race efforts he’s put had in the Cup Series. His 90 laps spent at the front in Fontana were more than he had led in his first two full-time seasons combined.
“It was really fun having all of the Lenovo guests here today, and it was really exciting to have such a strong run for them,” said Reddick.
Byron failed to finish the race because of the crash.
“So frustrated I made that mistake for our team today,” Byron said. “What a fast car, and we were making our way back to the front. I got loose getting under (Reddick) who had a flat. Thankful for such a fast car, and I know we’ll be back stronger next week.”