Tyler Reddick Claims First Victory of the Season at COTA
Tyler Reddick proved that he is one of the best road course racers in the world on Sunday, taking first place at the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, the first road course race of this season’s NASCAR Cup Series.
Reddick claimed the 1.411-second victory over Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch in a triple-overtime thriller.
The win earned Reddick his first trophy of the season, as well as his first with his new team, 23XI Racing. It is Reddick’s fourth career Cup Series win.
During the third overtime, Reddick took the lead in his No. 45 car while exiting Turn 1. Busch, Alex Bowman, defending COTA winner Ross Chastain and race polesitter William Byron rounded out the top five.
Busch’s second-place finish was the result of an impressive comeback. After sitting in the middle of the pack for most of the race, Busch was able to take advantage of late-race cautions to push his No. 8 car back into contention
Despite only finishing in fifth place, Byron’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was Reddick’s biggest challenger, with the pair exchanging leads throughout the race.
The young duo combined to lead 69 out 75 total laps, with Reddick claiming a race-best 41.
The first overtime came after the right-front tire of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet popped, causing the left rear of his car to fall apart.
The scattered debris led to a caution flag. The next caution came after Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney popped a tire.
The second overtime saw tempers begin to flare after Chastain nudged Bowman under braking. This caused Bowman to collide with Chastain’s Trackhouse Racing teammate Daniel Suárez.
The collision caused a flat right-front tire for Suárez, which ended up coming loose and scattering debris, necessitating the race’s final caution.
Suárez was relegated to a 27th-place finish.
After the cooldown lap, Suárez followed Bowman to pit road, and the two exchanged words upon exiting their vehicles. Suárez then went to confront Chastain in a heated exchange.
The race also featured stars from several other racing genres including International Motor Sports Association champion Jordan Taylor, two former Formula One champions in Jenson Button and Kimi Räikkönen and IndyCar Series regular Conor Daly.
Button, the 2009 Formula One champion, had the best finish among the four, coming in 18th place. Button raced in the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford.
Räikkönen, the 2007 F1 World Champion, finished 29th but ended up getting as high as fourth during the late stages of the race. Räikkönen raced in Trackhouse Racing’s No. 91 Chevrolet.
Daly raced in The Money Team Racing’s No. 50 Chevrolet, but only got through 16 laps before his car was taken behind the wall for extended repairs, resulting in a 36th-place finish.
A two-time COTA winner himself, Jordan Taylor drove the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in replacement of the injured Chase Elliott, another former COTA winner.
Taylor finished in 24th place but impressed after qualifying fourth. Taylor and Button are both set to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June through NASCAR’s Garage 56 effort.
Chastain overtook Busch for the championship lead by 19 points, while ninth-place finisher Ty Gibbs of Joe Gibbs Racing maintains his lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.
The NASCAR Cup Series will return to action next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. EST in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.
Declan Stablow is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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