Long: Tyler Reddick’s ‘crazy ride’ ends in Victory Lane


ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — After a long, hard-fought race on Road America’s demanding 4.048-mile course, Austin Cindric had one more task as Sunday afternoon turned to evening.

He walked the length of pit road to reach Victory Lane — where Tyler Reddick celebrated his first career Cup win.

When Cindric arrived, he lifted Reddick and gave his friend a bearhug. 

“I think of anyone in the field, he probably deserves that win more than anybody else,” Cindric told NBC Sports. “I think he’s put himself in position. He’s a really likable guy, and I feel like you can see how hard he works. 

“I’ve seen him mature as a driver and a person and as a friend and a father. It’s cool to see somebody you’re close to go through that.”

What Cindric has seen up close, NASCAR fans have seen from afar. 

“What a crazy ride it’s been,” the 26-year-old Reddick said of his journey to Road America’s finish line.

Reddick is a two-time Xfinity Series champion who seemed destined to win his first Cup race but had to watch as Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez each scored their first career Cup victory this year.

It was only four years ago that Reddick questioned his driving abilities after a miserable weekend at this track in the Xfinity Series. 

Road course racing used to be Reddick’s greatest weakness. Road courses are where he scored his first Cup pole (Circuit of the Americas last year) and now his first Cup win.

Through all that, Reddick faced one more obstacle on his way to winning: Chase Elliott.

Before he could take on Elliott, Reddick had to resolve issues he had with Road America in the Xfinity Series in 2018. He went off course in the mist during practice, struggled in qualifying and knew if he would have made another qualifying effort he would have wrecked. 

“I was just so far off here four years ago that it just had me really questioning if I had what it took,” Reddick said.

Less than three months later, he won the first of his Xfinity championships.

But his road course struggles followed him to Cup. The 2020 Charlotte Roval race proved a tipping point for Reddick.

“I remember kind of really screwing up Kevin Harvick’s race because of where I had to brake,” Reddick said last year. “He was not even thinking about (braking) yet, and he ran into the back of me and knocked his nose in and really messed up his day.

“I was tired of just being so bad that I felt like I was just kind of in the way and had to get out of everybody’s way and wanted to change that.”

With an emphasis on road courses, Reddick went on to win the pole last year at Circuit of the Americas, but his limited ability in the rain prevented him from winning there. 

Still, that growth spurred other changes.

“It was really inspiring,” Reddick said. “It made me really look at the other racetracks I wasn’t good at and try and figure out what I can do, what we can work on to get better, what are we missing.

“It really opened up a part of my brain that I wasn’t really even really prepared to use and just was able to not just get better at road courses, (but) get better at the places like Loudon and Martinsville … just the oddball tracks that I wasn’t good at.”

Reddick looks back to this race last year and the Indianapolis road course event where he felt he had a good car but he had to chase stage points instead of a win since he was battling to make the playoffs on points. By going for stage points, it put him out of position to go for the win because of track position. 

Even though Reddick entered this weekend outside a playoff spot, the focus was on winning and not stage points. 

That put him second to Elliott when they both headed down pit road with 20 laps to go. 

Elliott, the 2020 Cup champion, is the winningest active series driver on road courses and won this race a year ago. He controlled the race before Reddick followed him off pit road. Reddick passed Elliott with 17 laps left and moved into the lead a lap later. 

Elliott continued to pressure before Reddick eventually pulled away. 

“I didn’t do a very good job there,” Elliott said after his runner-up finish. “I just let him stay close enough to pressure me there while we had decent tires and never could get enough of a gap. Made a couple mistakes.”

Even as Reddick led in those final laps, his teammate, Austin Dillon, provided Reddick’s team a scare. 

Dillon had a brake rotor explode. He was told to pull off the course as quickly as possible to avoid creating a caution that would eliminate Reddick’s lead.

“I’m glad it didn’t bring a caution out for sure,” Reddick said. “But hey, I would have been ready for it, honestly.”

On this day, it all came together and after having finished runner-up in five previous Cup races, Reddick was the one cheered as the checkered flag waved.

“He deserves it,” Suarez said of Reddick. “He’s been doing a good job. I’m not surprised. … He was kind of like our situation, the 99 team. It was just a matter of time.”

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”