Tyler Reddick working to fix seat problems, numbness ahead of Phoenix

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Tyler Reddick is working quickly to fix an issue that has caused him to lose feeling in his legs in each of the past two NASCAR Cup Series races.

As drivers adapt to the new Next Gen car, they’re also learning how best to position their seats for hours of grueling competition behind the wheel — and how not to.

In a Wednesday teleconference, Reddick explained he’s carried old habits from previous stock cars into the new vehicle, which debuted in official race competition in February. Reddick’s issues first arose Feb. 27 at Auto Club Speedway, the first of three events in NASCAR’s West Coast Swing.

The No. 8 Richard Childress Racing team made alterations ahead of last week’s race at Las Vegas, but Reddick said his feedback pushed the team in the wrong direction.

Reddick explained the depth of the cockpit has changed “a lot” from the previous iteration of Cup cars and owned up to “making some mistakes in how I think I needed to be sitting in this car,” he said.

A trip back to the RCR shop in Welcome, North Carolina, ahead of this week’s race at Phoenix (3:30 p.m. ET, Sunday on Fox) has given Reddick and his crew time to diagnose the problem. Good thing, too, since he’ll need to brake well at NASCAR’s first trip to a track 1 mile or shorter this season.

“Now that we’re back from Vegas, we were able to sit in the car and adjust some things,” Reddick said. “Pinpoint some areas where I think I just had my body in a bad posture, not really allowing the weight of my body in the seat being distributed the way it should. Nothing to the extent of having to change (seat) inserts, do that sort of thing. Just moving some things around in the car. Seems to be better.”

Another difference in the Next Gen car is its floor-mounted pedals. Reddick said that hasn’t been as much of a factor as getting his overall positioning correct.

“More than anything, no matter where you put your seat, it’s kind of important to have your legs comfortable for you — not too high, not too low,” said Reddick, who leads the Cup Series with 90 laps led this season. “You don’t want to cut circulation off by having the pedals too low, on the edge of your seat or having your legs really having a lot of weight or force on the bottom of your seat cutting your circulation off that way.

“Certainly, with this deeper cockpit, I thought having my feet up was going to be better for me and I think I was shocked at how bent my legs were in the seating position I had the last two weekends. So we made some adjustments there. Certainly, I think I have frustrated some things in my body by putting it through that the last two weeks in a row now.”

Reddick is not the only driver to experience these issues. Aric Almirola noted that both legs went numb during Sunday’s race in Las Vegas.

Almirola has yet to discuss his particular issues, but Reddick noted that much of his issues stem from trying to get comfortable while stationary — and still unaware of what the forces feel like in this car.

“Obviously, the reason this has been an issue is pretty challenging to understand sitting still with no load, no bumps, no heat, whatever it might be to really feel if there is going to be a problem,” Reddick said. “It’s hard to really understand what’s OK and what’s not.”

Reddick believes his problems will be fixed by the time the No. 8 Chevrolet is unloaded in Phoenix.