Tyler Reddick couldn’t have asked for much more out of himself and his team Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.
Reddick won both stages and led a race-high 90 laps (before Sunday, he’d led 73 laps in his Cup career). His No. 8 Richard Childress Racing pit crew was also solid throughout the day.
But it all came undone on Lap 152 when Reddick lost a left-rear tire while leading. Moments later, William Byron hit Reddick as he attempted to avoid him.
Reddick stayed in the race but finished one lap down in 24th.
Even so, he sounded an optimistic note on social media later that night.
It was so great to be back at @AutoClubSpdwy! I’m extremely proud of everyone at @RCRracing. My pit crew was absolutely on it. My team made great adjustments. It’s hard to leave the track upset, because everyone did such a great job. So I leave today with a smile on my face! 😁
— Tyler Reddick (@TylerReddick) February 28, 2022
That same mood was evident in Reddick’s interview Monday afternoon on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“(Sunday) just speaks volumes to where everyone’s mindset is at, where we’re trying to put ourselves and how we were able to make the most out of the offseason that we had,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of new things coming into this year with this new car, and I really feel like everyone’s done a very good job this offseason of preparing and getting ready.
“I was really happy for my pit crew to see them show off like they did and do great work – just as anyone would be, you know? I was motivated, but you’re always a little bit concerned, like ‘Did we do the right things in this offseason? Was it enough? Are we approaching this the right way?’
“And so, to see them have the day that they did was really awesome for me to see. I’m really happy for them. They did a really good job.”
But there are still some questions unanswered from Sunday.
Reddick said it was “kind of difficult to say” what caused his flat tire, although he indicated that he’s settled on simply running something over during the preceding green flag run.
ICYMI: @TylerReddick details the tire issue that ended his chances of winning the #WISEPower400 at @AutoClubSpdwy@RCRracing | @chevrolet | #NASCAR | #SXMOnTrack pic.twitter.com/aFNrZxXgen
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) February 28, 2022
Before the tire blew, Reddick said he noticed something amiss for a lap but was busy racing for position against Erik Jones.
“It was coming on pretty aggressively, and it was definitely concerning,” Reddick said. “But thankfully, where it let go was able to allow us to slow down enough to not totally destroy the race car.
“Unfortunately, as we expected this race to be, it was a very challenging surface, these cars were hard to handle. It looked like William got a little bit loose underneath me trying to correct to give me a little extra space, and that’s where we got into trouble.”
Reddick also said he wasn’t sure why his leg went numb during the race.
The matter has caused him to look at his seat, particularly the insert he used at Auto Club and uses at other flat tracks.
Interestingly, he said he used that same insert in the Clash at the Coliseum and felt the same numbness in his leg.
However, in that instance, he thought it was because of other things, including not having his pedals where he wanted them inside the car.
With Auto Club in the rear view, Reddick says he and his team will work to solve the problem.
Meanwhile, he’s wondering – perhaps with tongue in cheek – if his own offseason workouts may have contributed.
“They pour the insert and it molds up around your body perfectly, and in the offseason, maybe, just losing a little bit of extra padding – a little bit of fat that I had in my glute, my lower back and in my buttocks area,” Reddick said.
“Now that I don’t have that, maybe that was just enough to where I need to kinda re-look at that and maybe get that re-poured. I’m not really sure at this moment but we’re figuring it out. We’re not gonna let it get us in the spot that we were (Sunday) again.”