Tyler Reddick

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Xfinity Series practice report from Charlotte Motor Speedway

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CONCORD, N.C – Tyler Reddick swept both Xfinity Series practice sessions Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In the final session he posted a top speed of 180.536 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

He was followed by Christopher Bell (179.946 mph), Justin Haley (179.485), Cole Custer (178.571) and Austin Dillon (178.130).

Chase Briscoe recored the most laps in the session with 58. He was eighth on the speed chart.

Click here for the speed chart.

First practice

Reddick posted a top speed of 180 mph in the first practice session.

He was followed by Custer (179.509 mph), Austin Cindric (179.093), Dillon (178.613) and John Hunter Nemechek (178.283).

Ross Chastain was sixth on the speed chart (178.083).

Rookie Justin Haley was seventh and recorded the most laps in the session with 26.

Mason Diaz slid and hit the inside wall during the session.

Click here for the speed chart.

 

Tyler Reddick ‘happy’ with early Xfinity success, Kansas Cup performance

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Things are going well for Tyler Reddick in 2019.

While he hasn’t been flashy about it, the Richard Childress Racing driver leads the Xfinity Series standings almost a third of the way through in his attempt to defend his series championship.

The first 10 races have been a stark contrast to his 2018 campaign, which ended in the championship. Reddick has a series-leading eight top fives, two more than Christopher Bell. Last year, when Reddick had just seven top fives all season, he didn’t earn his second until race No. 10 at Dover.

The only similarity to last year is his lone win has come at a superspeedway (Talladega).

“I wouldn’t say I expected it to be quite as smooth sailing as it has been,” Reddick told NBC Sports while in Philadelphia for a Xfinity Series promotion. “But I knew we had the capability of being as fast as we have been. For us to have the two bad races I would say, possibly three if you count Richmond, and still be running like we are and be where we are in points and all those things. It’s been pretty crazy honestly.

“I wish we had a win or two more along the way. To have a win, to be locked in and leading the points overall and have an average finish of (4.7) right now is pretty good so far for the first bit of the year. I’m happy.”

Reddick didn’t stay still during the first of two straight off weeks for the Xfinity Series.

He made his second career Cup Series start last weekend at Kansas Speedway, again driving RCR’s No. 31 Chevrolet.

After qualifying 30th in a car set up for the race, Reddick started 21st because many of the 11 cars that failed inspection and lost their starting spot were in front of him.

“The leaders could get away from us pretty early and we wouldn’t be able to match their lap times until about 25 laps into a run,” Reddick said. “So it kind of put us in a bad spot there. Throughout the race at times we could stay in the top 15, kind of linger right there.”

The team got a boost when a caution came out in the middle of green flag stops on Lap 219, leaving Reddick and six other drivers on the lead lap.

That allowed Reddick to restart in the top 10, where he’d stay the remainder of the race, running as high as the top five before settling for ninth.

“I think we still could have had a shot at running top 10 without that (caution),” Reddick said. “To ultimately get in the spot where we were and almost get to third place, fourth place after one of those restarts. It was a really good feeling. I was ashamed the next restart I threw it all away, just had a mistake and lost it. To still finish ninth after the issues we had on the restart and to bounce back from that, that was really cool.”

Reddick will return to Kansas in the Xfinity Series in October during the playoffs. But due to the Cup Series rules package, Reddick says nothing he experienced Saturday will translate back to his full-time ride.

“They couldn’t be any more different right now than they are at this moment,” Reddick said. “Everything that you know and teach yourself in Xfinity you pretty much have to throw it all away and disregard it when you step into a Cup car.

Reddick added, “It’s quite unreal to be honest with you how much different they are.”

The next three Xfinity races see the series visiting Charlotte Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway.

After his stellar start, Reddick isn’t too enthusiastic about the next stretch.

“Those are all really bad tracks for me,” Reddick said. “I’ve never ran Pocono with what the Xfinity cars are now. We ran the drag duct race there (in 2018 and finished ninth). My first time there at Michigan was with Chip Ganassi Racing (in 2017 and finished 13th). We had good speed but I just wasn’t quite comfortable in race cars yet, especially at a 2-mile race track. …

“Charlotte’s a place I’ve had a lot of rough luck at (finishes of 10th and 23rd). I don’t even think of Charlotte as a mile-and-a-half, but it is. Hopefully, I was hearing it was going to be 94 degrees. I’m hoping it’s really, really hot and really, really slick. It might work out OK for us. So I’d say Charlotte is the one I’m looking to the most.”

Through 10 races Reddick’s main competition in defending his title would appear to be Bell and Cole Custer, who have three wins and two wins respectively.

But Reddick is keeping his head up when it comes to one other driver.

“Definitely as we get into the summer stretch you can’t forget about Justin Allgaier,” Reddick cautioned. “He’ll run really good at the short tracks. He’ll be really good at the road courses. You can’t ever forget about him.”

Allgaier has four top fives this season and is coming off a runner-up finish at Dover and a third-place finish two races before that at Richmond.

“Trying to forget about him is exactly when we’re going to get in trouble and that’s when he’s going to pop his head back into the race and make himself known. He’s had some really bad luck but you definitely can’t rule him out.”

What Cup drivers said after Digital Ally 400 at Kansas

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Brad Keselowski – winner: “We were just too loose early and then in the traffic I brushed the wall a little bit and we couldn’t get it tightened up and finally with about 100 to go (crew chief) Paul Wolfe and the team made some adjustments and the car responded. I felt we were a top-three or top-five car but then the yellow came out right as we came to pit road and I thought we would have to claw to get a top 10. We clawed and clawed and a couple opportunities presented themselves and we were fighting for the lead. Alex Bowman ran an incredible race. I feel kind of bad. I think I kinda stole one from him. He was one of the best cars, him and Kevin Harvick. We just had a little fresher tires and I was able to catch the traffic just right to make the move on him and from there we were able to get the win.”

Alex Bowman – finished second: “We had a really good car, I just made bad decisions going through lap traffic on lane choice. They stayed where I needed to run. I should have gone high and I shouldn’t have picked the middle like I did. I just had to lift and let (Keselowski) and (Erik Jones) drive right around me. I’m pretty frustrated with myself. There was no way around that, that was a bad mistake on my part. We’ll go home and get them next week.”

Erik Jones – finished third: “It was kind of all over the map. When it started, we were kind of off and then we got better. Then we got off again and got better at the end. It was a good night and it was nice to have a shot at the win. The DeWalt Camry was for sure capable of winning. We just weren’t in the right situation and didn’t have some runs work out and the caution at the end. Just didn’t have the right push. Not a lot more you can ask for other than the win. Everybody did a great job, but it’s good momentum going on to two weeks now having good runs and having shots to run up front, it’s been nice after a rough month. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Chase Elliott – finished fourth: “It was OK. It was nice running top five. I hate to have been leading the laps that we did and not finish it off, but what do you do. It was unfortunate.”

Clint Bowyer – finished fifth: “Tonight wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. We struggled. We struggled with handling, especially as soon as the night fell and it got dark outside we were not handling at all. It was tight and it was loose and on top of the race track. With two stops to go we came in and raised the back of the car up and we got better in traffic and were able to race. Then all hell broke loose on the restart and things like that. It was tires, no tires, two tires. Everyone was on different strategies, people were a lap down that should have been up front. It was hard to even figure out who you were racing. We should have finished second. I had a huge run on both those guys but that kid, I guess he was willing to wreck himself to hold the position.”

Jimmie Johnson – finished sixth: “The first three-quarters of the race was pretty awful for us. But, the guys kept their head in the game and made some big adjustments and made some good adjustments and we got back in the mix. We’re still missing some speed though. So, we’ve still got plenty of work to do. I’m pretty frustrated and we’ve got to try to get on top of things. That’s the bottom line.”

Kurt Busch – finished seventh: “It feels like when the sun was out, our car had grip and I could make moves and make aggressive passes and then as the sun went down and each of our adjustments, I was just struggling for grip as the track got cooler. So, it doesn’t quite make sense. We did battle for good stage points today. I think we were like fifth, seventh, and seventh. But overall, our car was real racey early. So, thanks to my crew and the set up and everything that (crew chief) Matt Mccall is doing, normally we get better as the race goes on. Today was not the case. We just kind of plateaued and stayed there and I think others got better grip at the end or maybe we didn’t quite get it exactly racey enough. Literally, I was just kind of stuck in one groove at the end.”

Kyle Larson – finished eighth: “I feel like the Hendrick guys are really close to winning right now. I don’t feel like I’m close to winning yet. I feel like I’ve had eighth to 12th-place car speed all year long, I just haven’t gotten the finisher. The last couple of weeks we’ve finally got to finish some races where we deserve. We still have a lot of room to improve, but it is nice to see some Chevy’s up there.”

Tyler Reddick – finished ninth: “We are very fortunate to have a lot of cars that were trapped down a lap or two. It honestly saved us from having a pretty unfortunate finish to how good we were at times throughout the race. I think we could have definitely had a little more there with the way the situation played out. From that aspect, it’s disappointing, but a top ten has a lot of positives. It was a lot of fun driving the car. It was a unique opportunity. I always want more. I’ve raced against some of these guys in the Xfinity Series. It’s still a lot of fun to finish in the top ten, but we didn’t come here to run top ten. We can here for the win.”

Chris Buescher – finished 10th: “It was really fun all day. This group did a fantastic job this week. We knew we had a good car. I’m not complaining about the system, I loved it. We did not qualify as good as we wanted to, but it was something that we sacrificed to be able to go out there and run up there. We did not need that caution at the end, that definitely made it hard to get going for the first two laps. After that, we were really solid. I had a lot of fun. I always love Kansas. This has been a really good track for me over the years. We always put on a good show. We are pretty happy with that.”

Aric Almirola – finished 12th: “We had a fast Smithfield Ford Mustang to start the race. We drove from the back all the way up to the top five but couldn’t seem to find that speed for the rest of the race. We’ll keep working hard to improve each weekend.”

Ty Dillon – finished 13th: “This just wasn’t our day. We decided to run a setup similar to our Texas car that ran well back in March after practice didn’t go how we wanted it to. Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 qualified well with it, but we weren’t quite sure what it would do during the race because all of the intermediate tracks are just so different from each other. It started off a little loose, but my team made great adjustments when they had the opportunity and I was really happy with my car by the end of Stage 2. I wish we could have gotten a better finish, but we will take this as a learning night and be ready to come back in the fall.”

 

Brad Keselowski wins Kansas Cup race in overtime

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Brad Keselowski won Saturday night’s Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in an overtime finish, claiming his third win of the season.

Keselowski triumphed in the two-lap shootout over Alex Bowman, Erik Jones, Chase Elliott and Clint Bowyer.

The overtime finish was caused by Matt DiBenedetto‘s engine expiring with four laps left in the scheduled distance.

Keselowski took the lead three laps before that with a pass of Alex Bowman on the outside in Turn 3.

Bowman led 63 laps and has finished second in the last three races.

“That restart, we just got a great launch,” Keselowski told Fox Sports 1. “Alex Bowman, I tell you he’s going to win a race. He did a great job today. We just a had a little bit fresher tires than he did.”

Keselowski dedicated his win to Mike Mittler, a long-time Truck Series owner who passed away Friday.

“He helped a lot of guys in their career and I was one of them,” Keselowski said. “He was local to here and he passed away yesterday. Just such a huge loss for the NASCAR community. He’s one of those unsung heroes that works in the garage, gave his whole to this sport. … Hurts to see those guys go away.”

Kyle Busch had to pit for a tire rub with 21 laps to go. He finished 30th, ending his stretch of races to start the season with a top-10 finish at 11 races.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Elliott

Click here for results and point standings.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Erik Jones finished third to match his best finish of the year (Daytona 500) … Chase Elliott earned his third straight top five, tying him with Alex Bowman for the best active streak … Clint Bowyer earned his first Kansas top five since April 2014 …. Tyler Reddick placed ninth for his first career Cup top 10 in just his second start.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Kevin Harvick had the car to beat until he had to pit unexpectedly with 88 laps to go for an issue with his right-side tires. But crew chief Rodney Childers said no problem was found. After leading 104 laps, Harvick placed 13th … Denny Hamlin spun on his own in Stage 1 and was never competitive. He finished 16th … Ryan Blaney placed 32nd after he made contact with the wall in the final stage and had to pit for repairs.

NOTABLE: Alex Bowman is the first winless driver to finish second in three straight races … Brad Keselowski earned his 30th Cup win, tying him with Kurt Busch for 26th all time … The cars of Keselowski and Quin Houff each had on unsecured lug nut after the race.

WHAT’S NEXT: Monster Energy Open/All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway at 6 p.m. ET on May 18 on Fox Sports 1

Entry lists for NASCAR at Kansas

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With Mother’s Day on Sunday, NASCAR goes back under the lights this weekend at Kansas Speedway for both the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race on Friday night and the Cup Series race on Saturday evening.

The Xfinity Series is off this weekend and does not return to action until May 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race:

Cup – Digital Ally 400 (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1)

There will be a 40-car field in Saturday’s main event of the weekend.

Tyler Reddick will make his second career Cup start for Richard Childress Racing. Reddick’s previous Cup start was in this year’s season-opening Daytona 500, where he started 39th and finished 27th.

Jeb Burton will make his third Cup start of the season for Rick Ware Racing, driving the No. 51 Chevy. 

Kevin Harvick won this race last year, leading 79 of 267 laps and beating Martin Truex Jr. Chase Elliott won last fall’s playoff race, beating Kyle Busch.

Click here for the preliminary entry list.

Trucks – Digital Ally 250 (8:30 p.m. ET Friday on Fox Sports 1)

There are 27 Trucks entered for this race. 

Josh Bilicki will make his series debut driving the No. 34 Chevrolet for Reaume Brothers Racing.

The No. 30 of Brennan Poole has been withdrawn from the race due to a lack of sponsorship.

Noah Gragson won this race last year, beating Kyle Busch by 1.558 seconds. Stewart Friesen finished third.

Click here for the preliminary entry list.

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