Race after race, Tyler Reddick rolled through this NASCAR Cup Series season with his first victory in sight, only to see his shot at victory lane dissolve.
On Sunday at Road America, he didn’t let the opportunity pass.
MORE: Race results, driver points
MORE: What drivers said
Instead, he passed. And the victim was Chase Elliott, who dominated Sunday’s race but was outdueled by Reddick in the afternoon’s key moment. The two dueled for the lead for several laps before Reddick muscled around Elliott with 16 laps to go. He stayed out front the rest of the way, steadily building a big lead over Elliott.
The win was Reddick’s first in the series after 10 career top-five finishes. He thus put his name on the playoff list.
Reddick, driving for Richard Childress Racing, became the fifth driver to win for the first time this season.
“Everyone on this team at Richard Childress Racing has believed in me,” Reddick said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, but, man, this year has been one step, one mistake away from greatness all year long, and we finally did it today. It feels good.”
Road America is famous for making passing difficult, and Elliott made it virtually impossible before Reddick’s final-stage surge. Elliott built six-second leads during the first two stages before Reddick rose to the occasion in the third stage.
Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace made contact in the hazardous Turn 5 during the second stage, sending both cars out of the racing groove. Neither received serious damage.
Elliott built a four-second lead in the second stage before pitting, leaving the stage win to Ryan Blaney.
Elliott also dominated the first stage, but another Chase — Briscoe — won the stage after Elliott’s team turned to strategy and pitted two laps before the end of the race’s opening 15 laps.
Stage 1 winner: Chase Briscoe
Stage 2 winner: Ryan Blaney
Who had a good race: Tyler Reddick finally burst into victory lane after showing much promise in his third full Cup season. The 26-year-old Californian had scored 10 top fives without a win. … Michael McDowell, who built his reputation in road racing, had a consistent afternoon, racing in the top 10 most of the day and finishing eighth. … Chase Elliott, the ace of the series on road courses, led 36 laps but couldn’t close out the win.
Who had a bad race: Denny Hamlin, who has been plagued by penalties all season, picked up another pair Sunday, twice driving through too many boxes on pit road. … Kyle Busch was a non-factor all afternoon. He was deep in the pack in the final stage after complaining early in the race that “nothing” worked on his car. Busch finished 29th. … Bubba Wallace was involved in a couple of incidents, struggled throughout the race and finished 35th.
Next: The Cup Series returns to the Southeast Sunday, July 10 to race for the second time this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET, USA Network).