NASCAR at Road America results: Tyler Reddick holds off

Five times since moving up to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020, Tyler Reddick had come up one spot short of the winner’s circle and finished second. Five times, Reddick had to endure those missed opportunities, including twice in 2022. But for the fifth time this season, there’s another first-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series — and it’s Reddick.

After taking the lead from Chase Elliott with 17 laps to go, Reddick was able to withstand Elliott’s pursuit over the final long run and pulled away at the finish to win the Kwik Trip 250 at Road America, the first win of his Cup Series career in his 92nd career start.

Reddick is the fifth first-time winner this season, joining Austin Cindric (Daytona), Chase Briscoe (Phoenix), Ross Chastain (Circuit of the Americas) and Daniel Suarez (Sonoma). That ties the modern era mark for the most first-time winners in a Cup season, joining the 2001, 2002 and 2011 seasons.

Kwik Trip 250 unofficial results

  1. #8 – Tyler Reddick
  2. #9 – Chase Elliott
  3. #5 – Kyle Larson
  4. #1 – Ross Chastain
  5. #99 – Daniel Suarez
  6. #17 – Chris Buescher
  7. #2 – Austin Cindric (R)
  8. #34 – Michael McDowell
  9. #16 – A.J. Allmendinger
  10. #4 – Kevin Harvick

After an up-and-down 2022 season, Reddick entered Sunday’s race well back of the playoff cutoff line, knowing full well he needed to get over the hump and get his first Cup win to get on the playoff board. In doing so, Reddick became the 13th different winner through 18 races so far, changing the complexion of the playoff picture yet again.

“We had to. And what better place than Road America?” Reddick told NBC Sports. “I love the fans, I love this racetrack. Being here on Fourth of July weekend is just so special … We got it done. We won the race.”

Here’s more from the finish at Road America and Tyler Reddick’s very first win:

The Winning Move

For most of Sunday’s race, it looked as though no one had much of anything for Elliott — and even if they did, there was no certainty as to whether they could actually get around him. With the aero effects of the Next Gen car once again making passing difficult on road courses, Road America became a track position game that was ultimately decided when Reddick made up time on Elliott on pit road and got close enough to pounce when Elliott went wide in Turn 5.

Had Elliott been able to stay ahead of Reddick, he may very well have been able to keep him at bay and eventually pull away in clean air. But after finishing second, Elliott was left to lament his various missteps that gave Reddick the chance he needed.

“I didn’t do a very good job there,” Elliott told NBC Sports. “I just let him stay close enough to pressure me there while we had decent tires. … I was gaining a gap there a couple times and made a couple mistakes and let him get back close enough to get me out of sync. And then after that, just started struggling.

“Obviously it was super difficult to get to somebody to pass them. I mean, it was impressive that he was able to get up there and capitalize on my mistake. So happy for those guys, I appreciate the effort out of our team. Wish I could have done a better job there.”

Contributing to the difficulty the field had passing was the fact that, save for competition cautions at the end of stages, the yellow flag rarely flew. No on-track incidents ended up bringing out a full course caution, which resulted in large gaps throughout the field and time that most were not able to make up.

Bubble Watch

Having entered Road America 52 points back of the playoff bubble, Reddick’s victory once again shifted the cutoff line down, putting one big name driver on the outside looking in and several others in a less-than-comfortable position.

Reddick’s win bumped Kevin Harvick below the cutoff line, and he is now the first driver on the outside looking in 20 points back of Christopher Bell. Bell is one of just three drivers who are in the playoffs on points, with the others being Ryan Blaney (+112) and Martin Truex Jr. (+61). Without a win in a points-paying race this season, Blaney was able to get some important points to pad his cushion on the cutoff line, winning Stage 2 on strategy before just missing out on a top-10 finish in 11th.

Beyond Harvick, other drivers now trailing the cutoff line include Aric Almirola (-47), Erik Jones (-85) and Austin Dillon (-94). The pressure will be on all those drivers and more next week, as a superspeedway-style race at Atlanta will present a wide-open opportunity for drivers who have yet to win a race this year.

From the Finishing Order

  • Reddick’s win marked only the second time in NASCAR history — and the first time ever in the sport’s modern era — that there have been at least five first-time winners through the first 18 races. The only other time that’s happened was 1950, the sport’s second-ever season.
  • Road America presented a major opportunity for Chris Buescher after his second-place finish at Sonoma, and he was able to capitalize on it with a sixth-place finish — his third top 10 in the last four road course races.
  • Entering the 2022 season, Michael McDowell had posted just 17 top-10 finishes throughout his entire Cup Series career. With an eighth-place finish on Sunday, he now already has seven on the 2022 season alone.
  • Maybe Cole Custer got all the bad luck out of the way on Saturday. After a brake failure led to him having a hard crash while running third late in the Xfinity Series race, Custer had a clean race all day and came home 15th, his first top-15 finish since Dover in May.
  • Harrison Burton stayed out to lead a lap during the final round of green flag pit stops, getting on the board of lap leaders before making his last stop and finishing 22nd. That lap was the first that Burton has led since he led three in the Daytona 500.
  • After appearing to be on his way to a top-15 finish, the final laps turned into a disaster for Austin Dillon considering his playoff position. Dillon suffered a brake failure and had to take his car off-course with two laps to go, making him one of just three drivers who failed to finish the race. Bubba Wallace also fell out with brake failure in the final laps, while Loris Hezemans completed just nine laps before a fuel pump issue ended his day.

Next Race

The NASCAR Cup Series makes its first repeat visit to a racetrack next week, as they head back to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400 next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network with streaming on fuboTV (try for free).

About the author: AKDSEO

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