Austin Dillon’s Team-First Move Helped Secure Tyler Reddick’s Win

Austin Dillon

Getty Austin Dillon nearly brought out the caution flag at Road America.

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick cruised to Victory Lane in the Cup Series race at Road America after passing Chase Elliott in the final stage and building up a four-second lead. He almost had to fight for the win during overtime, but his teammate made a key move to keep the race green.

Reddick had the lead with two laps remaining, and he had the goal of taking the white flag. The conversation quickly turned to Austin Dillon after the cameras showed that the No. 3 had a flat tire. It was later revealed that he had a blown brake rotor that caused the cut tire. There were concerns that the RCR driver would leave debris on the track as he tried to make his way back to pit road, which would bring out the caution flag.

The race remained green, however, as Dillon found a cutout in the wall. He pulled off the track and ensured that he would have a DNF. Though this move also guaranteed that the race would remain green long enough for Reddick to claim his first career Cup Series win.

“As far as being nervous at the end of the race, four or five laps to go, I said, ‘We just don’t need a caution,’” Childress explained after the race. “Then with two laps to go, the No. 3 blew a left front rotor coming into [Turn] 5, and I said, ‘Here we go again; here’s that caution.’ But [Dillon] was able to get off and go straight and saved the day for us.”

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The driver of the No. 3 could have continued and attempted to reach his pit box. Instead, he made a move that benefited the Cup Series organization. He pulled off the track, kept the race under green-flag conditions, and he helped his teammate capture the win.

The Move Hurt Dillon’s Playoff Chances

The decision to pull off of the track and finish 31st helped Reddick secure his first win and an almost-guaranteed spot in the playoffs. It also negatively affected Dillon’s own playoff chances with a limited number of races remaining in the regular season.

Dillon and Reddick both entered the race weekend below the cutline, but now the driver of the No. 8 has his spot. The three-time Cup Series winner in Dillon, however, has even fewer opportunities to punch his ticket to the playoffs.

Dillon is now 94 points below the cutline after 18 races. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell holds the final transfer spot, but there are three other drivers ahead of Dillon. He also sits behind Kevin  Harvick (-20), Aric Almirola (-47), and Erik Jones (-85). The RCR driver is in a must-win situation heading toward a difficult stretch of the summer that features two more road courses.

This is not the first time that Dillon and Reddick have fought for one of the remaining spots in the 16-driver playoff field. They also did so during the 2021 regular season while competing for points and wins. Neither driver reached Victory Lane, but Reddick beat out Dillon for the final playoff spot after a last-lap crash in the regular-season finale.

The Win Was Important for RCR’s Legacy

Austin Dillon

GettyAustin Dillon & Tyler Reddick have added multiple wins to RCR’s total.

Prior to the race at Road America, the two-car team had not reached Victory Lane since Dillon’s win at Texas Motor Speedway in 2020. This was the 109th win for the organization while Reddick’s was the 110th.

Richard Childress Racing is seventh all-time in wins, and the organization has since moved one step closer to the sixth spot. Junior Johnson and Associates has 132 wins. Jimmy Spencer was the last driver to take the organization to Victory Lane when he won at Talladega Superspeedway on July 24, 1994.

RCR has a considerable amount of work remaining before it can overtake Junior Johnson and Associates and start to chase down Team Penske. However, Reddick’s ability to deliver a win while facing off with powerhouse organizations creates more confidence about this potential outcome.

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