23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick will start from the rear in the March 5 Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube. His team discovered a mechanical issue, which disrupted his practice and qualifying schedule.
FOX Sports reporter Jamie Little provided the update on March 4 ahead of the morning Cup Series practice session. She said that Reddick’s team discovered an engine issue when they began prepping the car. This meant that they needed to swap out the engine before the race, but there was not enough time to complete the work before practice or qualifying.
Reddick will now have to start the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from the rear of the field. He will have to contend with other drivers and dirty air while trying to navigate his way toward the front of the pack. Reddick will have to do so at a track where he has six career Cup Series starts and one pole win, all with Richard Childress Racing. He has also secured top-10 finishes in the past three races.
Reddick’s Tenure With 23XI Racing Has Started With Issues
Reddick entered the 2023 Cup Series season facing raised expectations. The belief was that he would take over the No. 45 Toyota Camry TRD and automatically begin contending for wins like Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch did at points during the 2022 season.
The first three race weekends have not played out as anyone expected. Reddick’s Daytona 500 came to an end during the second stage after a multi-car crash collected him and eight other drivers. He finished 39th in the 40-car field.
Reddick’s trip to California also had similar issues. He was caught up in a crash in the restart zone when an accordion effect collected several drivers. Reddick ended the day 34th overall and ahead of only Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger.
Reddick, who won three times for Richard Childress Racing in 2022, is now last in the Cup Series standings with a mere four points. He is behind Ty Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, and JJ Yeley after the first two races of the season.
The mechanical issue will not do Reddick any favors as he tries to overcome this early-season hurdle. He will have to head out onto the Nevada track with no lap time since the 2022 playoffs, and he will have to work his way through the field.
Reddick Will Rely on Toyota Racing Teammates
Reddick will have a significant hurdle to overcome as he prepares for the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube. However, he will have some other members of Toyota Racing that will support him as he prepares for the Cup Series race.
As the driver of the No. 45 explained in a Twitter video, he will have to rely on simulation. He will also have extra feedback from Bubba Wallace, Denny Hamlin, and the other TRD drivers that were able to take part in practice and qualifying.
The Toyota drivers showed speed during the morning session. Wallace, in particular, was the sixth fastest on March 4 with a lap time of 29.47 seconds at 183.255 mph. Rookie Ty Gibbs had an identical lap time at 183.212 mph.
Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Christopher Bell were not fully able to replicate this speed. The No. 20 was the 12th-fastest in the practice session while the No. 11 was 23rd overall. The No. 19 was 25th in the session.