INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler Reddick powered through the final two laps as chaos erupted around him and won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The win was Reddick’s second in the past five races and the second of his career.
“I’ve watched a lot of racing at this venue growing up,” Reddick said. “It’s cool to be part of the group of drivers who have won here.”
Ross Chastain tried an odd maneuver on the final restart in overtime, using an access road beyond the first turn to return to the track and take the lead from Reddick. Reddick later passed Chastain for first. NASCAR informed Chastain’s team that he could not keep the position after the access-road run.
Reddick said he was surprised to see Chastain suddenly appear to challenge him for the lead.
“I was like, ‘Uh-oh,’ ” Reddick said. “That was a scenario that had been talked about. If you get bottled up, what do yhou do when you take the access road? I couldn’t believe he got ahead of me. I was waiting to see if he was going to have a penalty because I didn’t want to move him out of the way. … Hats off to Ross for trying to do that, but I’m really glad it didn’t end up working out because I would have been pretty pissed off.”
Chastain said he bypassed Turn 1 “just trying not to be in the carnage there. I thought we were four-wide and couldn’t go any farther right, so I decided to take the NASCAR access lane out there. Just pure reaction there.”
Reddick then powered past Chastain to regain the lead in Turn 14 with the white flag in the air, with Chastain, Cindric and Burton never making another challenge for the lead. Reddick crossed the finish line .576 of a second ahead of Chastain before Chastain was demoted by the penalty. The official margin of victory between Reddick and Cindric was 1.065 seconds.
“I was like, ‘Uh-oh,’” Reddick said of Chastain passing for the lead. “That was a scenario that had been talked about. If you get bottled up, what do you do when you take the access road? I couldn’t believe he got ahead of me. I was waiting to see if he was going to have a penalty because I didn’t want to move him out of the way. I was really surprised by that, but hey, we made it work.
“Hats off to Ross for trying to do that, but I’m really glad it didn’t end up working out because I would have been pretty pissed off.”
MORE: Indianapolis Cup results
MORE: Indianapolis Cup points
The finish order had Austin Cindric finishing second to Reddick. Harrison Burton in third and Todd Gilliland in fourth had their career-best runs. Bubba Wallace was fifth.
AJ Allmendinger, winner of Saturday’s Xfinity Series, challenged for the win Sunday despite the failure of his cooling suit on a very hot day. He finished seventh and struggled to reach a nearby wall after climbing from his car. He was assisted in cooling down near the car before being treated and released from the track medical center.
The field struggled to complete the race, primarily because of the chaos associated with restarts and dozens of cars trying to fit into a few spaces in the tight landscape of the first turn. Reddick’s ability to run with authority through that turn with the lead was a key in the race victory.
After the race, Chastain said he didn’t go with the rest of the field into Turn 1 on the final restart because the turn was so crowded. He drove onto the access road and returned to the track to challenge Reddick before NASCAR ruled against his maneuver.
A green flag with three laps to go resulted in a mess in the first turn. Reddick burst into the lead as the cars hit the turn, but contact between Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney sent Elliott spinning. Several other cars spun out behind them. Austin Dillon‘s car slid off the course, forcing another caution.
With 21 laps to go, Kyle Larson lost control of his Chevrolet entering Turn 1 (apparently because of a mechanical issue) and slammed hard into the side of Ty Dillon‘s car. The impact lifted Larson’s car into the air as it spun. Dillon’s car was damaged extensively.
Both drivers climbed from their cars, and Larson ran over to talk briefly with Dillon. Neither driver was injured.
That crash brought out the caution flag as Reddick held the lead. The caution wiped out his three-second lead over Elliott.
Late in the race’s first stage, driver Chris Buescher endured a dramatic few moments as flames fired up inside his car during a pit stop. The fire was extinguished quickly, but Buescher returned to the pits twice so crew members could do cleanup work inside the car.
Stage 1 winner: Chase Briscoe
Stage 2 winner: Christopher Bell
Who had a good race: Tyler Reddick continues to underline the smart move Denny Hamlin made in signing him for the 2024 season and beyond. Reddick swept to the win Sunday after scoring earlier at Road America and finishing second last week at Pocono. … Harrison Burton rode through the wild racing in the closing laps to finish third, a career high. … Todd Gilliland also scored a career high finish of fourth.
Who had a bad race: Kevin Harvick’s quest to make the playoffs continues to be a rough road. He crashed late in the race and finished 33rd. … Kyle Larson and Ty Dillon endured one of the toughest accidents of the season when Larson lost control of his car entering Turn 1 and sailed into Dillon’s car.
Next: The Cup Series moves on to Michigan International Speedway for a 400-mile race Sunday, Aug. 7 (USA Network).