Long: Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe shake hands after last-lap incident

1 Comment

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The first words Tyler Reddick said to Chase Briscoe after Briscoe’s contact on the final lap cost Reddick his first Cup win didn’t need to be bleeped. 

“I get it,” Reddick told Briscoe on pit road after Sunday night’s dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway. “It sucks.”

As Briscoe explained his move, Reddick told him: “It’s all good. I needed to drive away. I let you get close. It’s on me. It’s all good.”

Then they shook hands. 

No punches. No melee. No temper tantrum.

Why no antics?

“It’s Easter,” Reddick said with a smile after finishing second to Kyle Busch in the first Cup race on this holiday since 1989. “I just look at it like I could have done a better job the last couple of laps to keep distance between us.”

Reddick led 99 of the last 100 laps Sunday, but Briscoe closed in the final circuits. 

“I let him get a little too close,” Reddick said after talking to Briscoe. “He was within reach to really go for it on the last corner. I tried to defend for it. He drove it in from really far back.

“I kind of knew what was coming because I had to make pretty similarly crazy moves at times in the race to pass some cars. Just tough. I knew it was coming. I thought I defended it as good as I could. I just wish, the only thing that would have made a difference was just running better laps the last two or three to keep a better gap between us. Credit to him. He did a really good job of just driving the wheels off that car in the last couple of laps.”

Briscoe, who finished 22nd after the contact, said a key moment happened in the final 10 laps that helped set up the final lap.

“I was catching him little by little,” Briscoe said. “Seven (laps) to go and I tried to go middle … and I lost a lot of ground. I started to run as hard as I could on the top.”

It worked. He gained steadily on Reddick. Briscoe said on the last lap he felt he would be close to Reddick.

“When I got off of (Turn) 2 and I was almost running him over down the back straightaway, I wouldn’t have been able to go to sleep at night if I didn’t try to throw the slider, right, just following in second,” said Briscoe, who scored his first career Cup win last month at Phoenix.

“I hate that I got into him. It’s not how I want to race, but I felt like it was hard racing. I think Tyler knows there was no real intent behind it. Like he was telling me, he would have done the exact same thing.”

As for Reddick’s reaction, Briscoe said: “Some guys would be mad, but I think Tyler knows how I race. He knows I was not going to wreck him intentionally for the win. 

“I was doing everything I could to race him clean. That’s why I said as soon as he drove in there with me, I knew I wasn’t going to clear him and I started spinning out because I knew I was going to drive through him. I don’t want to win that way. … If anybody gets it, I think it’s Tyler. He’s just so cool about racing hard.”

Said Reddick of Briscoe: “I’ve known him from many years back. We’ve raced sprint cars together. We’ve raced other things together. We both like to race really hard. We both don’t like to clean somebody out just plainly like that.”

So after such an incident cost Reddick the win, he could still smile, and shake hands with Briscoe and look ahead to another day.