Richard Childress Racing driver Tyler Reddick is officially in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for the first time in his career. He will start the Round of 16 behind Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, and other drivers in terms of points, but he will have an early opportunity to make up ground at tracks where he has previously contended.
Reddick met with Heavy and other media members on Tuesday, Aug. 31, to discuss his first-ever trip to the Cup Series playoffs. He explained that there will be some changes during his return trips to the first three tracks on the schedule. This especially holds true for Bristol Motor Speedway, the site of a March dirt race. However, he plans on showcasing the same speed that he did earlier in the season while fighting for points.
“The nice thing is that we’re going back to a venue — well, let me think about this,” Reddick told Heavy. “I mean, in a way we’ve been to all three of these tracks already this year, the third Bristol. Obviously a little dustier for some reason the first time we were there earlier this year (laughs).
“The speed we had early at this race at Darlington in the beginning of summer, if you will, was really promising to know we were that good and still have missed the mark on where our car needed to be by that much.”
The last time Reddick competed at Darlington was May 9, 2021. He suited up for a Throwback Weekend race at The Lady in Black and started 10th overall. Reddick raced his way to a 12th-place finish overall while joining several other drivers a lap behind the race leaders.
Reddick Immediately Began Planning for the Playoffs
The driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro experienced a whirlwind evening on Aug. 28. He suffered extensive damage to his stock car and then nearly fell victim to NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy. However, the team got Reddick back into contention, and he secured a top-10 finish after avoiding a massive last-lap wreck that sent several vehicles to the garage.
Once he realized that he was in the playoffs, Reddick began focusing on the future. Specifically, he wanted to know where he would line up for the Cook Out Southern 500 that kicks off the Round of 16. Reddick knew that NASCAR doesn’t release the starting order until the Wednesday before each race, but he also knew that Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass has a habit of predicting the lineups days in advance.
“Yeah, I’m excited for sure going into that race,” Reddick continued. “But even more excited, after all the chaos and everything kind of had passed at Daytona, we knew we were in. That night leading into the next morning, I was like, ‘Bob Pockrass is probably taking a guess at where everyone is going to start.’
“Just seeing that, ‘oh, my gosh, this fifth-place finish was not only good to just finally finish fifth, in the top 5 at Daytona, but it looks like it’s going to help our starting position at Darlington’ where there’s only I think 13 points between myself and sixth right now. I think we’re going to see a lot of shake-up just right away in how tight everybody is, how it’s going to spread out just in this first race at Darlington. We’re going to try to take advantage of that.”
Reddick will start the playoff race at Darlington on the fourth row, next to Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola. He will be in a favorable spot considering that eight other playoff drivers will line up behind him, along with the 21 that didn’t make the playoffs.
Reddick Has Playoff Experience in a Different Series
While Reddick is entering the Cup Series playoffs for the first time, he has extensive experience fighting for a championship in a different series. Reddick previously made two appearances in the Xfinity Series playoffs for two different teams.
Reddick started his full-time Xfinity career in 2018 as a member of JR Motorsports. He climbed into the No. 9 Chevrolet and posted 20 top-10 finishes, seven top-fives, and two wins. He bookended the season by taking the opening race at Daytona International Speedway and then winning the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to lock up his first Xfinity title.
Reddick switched teams for the 2019 season, joining forces with Richard Childress Racing and turning in a career year. He took over the No. 2 Chevrolet and finished top five in 24 of the 33 races. Reddick locked up wins at Talladega, Charlotte, Michigan, Bristol, Las Vegas, and Homestead-Miami en route to his second consecutive championship.