Hamlin calls the 26-year-old Reddick a “franchise driver.”
“It’s easy to spot talent when you’ve got to go against it,” Hamlin said.
Reddick won’t join 23XI Racing until the 2024 season because Richard Childress Racing has picked up the option on Reddick’s contract for 2023. Next year will be Reddick’s third and final Cup season with Richard Childress Racing.
RCR issued a statement on social media that raised frustration about the timing of the announcement: “We’re proud of the success Tyler Reddick has found at Richard Childress Racing. We’re focused on winning a championship in 2022 and 2023, although timing of this announcement could not be any worse.”
Reddick responded to the RCR statement, saying: “It’s always a difficult thing when … our relationship is going to come to an end. But I feel like it gives everyone time what lies ahead, what’s the next step, where do we go from here?
“For me, in my opinion, it’s better to do it now than the playoffs. There’s no reason to kick the can down the road. We know what lies ahead. We now all know what is in front of us and what we need to do.”
This is not the first time a driver has signed for another team more than a year before joining the organization but it has not happened since 2015 when Clint Bowyer signed to replace Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017. Bowyer was with Michael Waltrip Racing at the time but it had announced plans to close after the season. Bowyer went to HScott Motorsports in 2016 before moving to SHR.
Reddick, who won his first Cup race earlier this month at Road America, said he’s thrilled about his future with 23XI Racing and Toyota.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity that is coming ahead in 2024,” Reddick said. “The team is very young, but it’s been going in a very positive direction from day one. I’m just really excited to get it out there. … Very excited to be able to announce this to know what lies for me and 23XI.”
Steve Lauletta, president of 23XI Racing, said it is to be determined what car Reddick will drive in 2024. Hamlin said the team will seek sponsorship for Reddick. That is among the many things the team will have to sort through leading up to the 2024 season, including if it will have two cars or expand to three cars. Hamlin said Tuesday that while all scenarios are possible, he didn’t “forecast” having three cars by 2024.
“All we know is we wanted him,” Hamlin said. “We made sure we planted our feet deep in the ground to make sure Tyler had the opportunity with this race team, and we made it happen.”
Said David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development: “We’re delighted to have Tyler in our future.”
Reddick is a two-time Xfinity champion. He won the series crown in 2018 with JR Motorsports and 2019 with Richard Childress Racing. With his victory this season, Reddick is set to make the Cup playoffs for the second consecutive year. He was eliminated in the first round last year and finished 13th in the points.
23XI Racing has Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch as its drivers. Asked if both were signed through 2023, Lauletta said: “No changes on our side for ’23. The focus is squarely on ’24 and how we maximize the opportunities of the organization as a whole.”
— RCR (@RCRracing) July 12, 2022