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Reddick wins at Indy to end best month of NASCAR career

Reddick wins at Indy to end best month of NASCAR career

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tyler Reddick already took his first Cup career victory this month, qualifying for the NASCAR playoffs and signing a major contract with a new team.

Now he has a win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Reddick closed out the best month of his career with a Sunday road race win at Indy, earning him two wins in the last five Cup races.

“We just know what we’re capable of, and we’ve done that at Road America,” said Reddick. “If we don’t change anything, we’ll keep working very, very hard, we’ll find a way to the victory lane. Really glad to be able to do it here in Indianapolis.

“This is a very special place to race and I’m very excited to kiss the stones.”

Reddick broke through for his first career win on July 3 at Road America in Wisconsin, announcing nine days later that he would be leaving Richard Childress Racing in 2024 to drive for 23XI, the team of Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.

Win #2 seemed easily within reach as Reddick was comfortably out front 15 late laps when debris from Christopher Bell’s car brought out the fourth warning of the race with six to go.

It made for a restart with three laps to go and Reddick lined up next to racetrack champion Chase Elliott, who narrowly passed Reddick for the lead until he was spun for another warning that sent the race into overtime.

Reddick had to hold off defending race winner AJ Allmendinger, who also won in the Xfinity Series on Saturday, at the next restart. But Allmendinger was physically exhausted and struggling because his cooling device hadn’t worked the entire race, and he barely challenged Reddick.

Allmendinger collapsed as he climbed out of his car. His wife and team personnel were seen wrapping his head in wet towels and pouring water over him before Allmendinger was taken to the care center.

So it was Ross Chastain who got Reddick to make his way to the Yard of Bricks.

Chastain missed the first turn completely and used the access road to get back to the racetrack for Reddick and the seemingly new leader. Reddick chased him for a full lap of the 2.439-mile track, eventually retaking the lead in time to lead the entire last lap.

“I couldn’t believe he beat me to it,” said Reddick. “I waited a bit to see if he would get a penalty because I didn’t want to get him out of the way and make his race worse than it was. Anyway, we did it. Hats off to Ross for trying, but really glad it didn’t work out as I would have been pretty (angry).

NASCAR penalized Chastain after the race for using the access road, dropping him to 27th place.

“I thought we were four wide and couldn’t go further to the right,” Chastain said, “and decided to take the NASCAR entry lane there.”

Reddick’s win made him the first RCR driver since Kevin Harvick in 2013 to win multiple races in a season, and for the first time since 2017 multiple wins for RCR in a season.

It was RCR’s fourth win at Indianapolis as Reddick joined Dale Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard as Indy winners ahead of Richard Childress. The previous three wins were at the Brickyard’s oval.

But Childress still seemed hurt by Reddick’s early decision to leave in 18 months, particularly citing his heartfelt breakup with Harvick at the end of the 2013 season.

“Well, Kevin and I went through his entire deal and we made a joint announcement. He won four races that year and we almost won the championship,” said Childress. “This one didn’t happen like that.”

But the owner said he would still celebrate with Reddick and his sponsors, and later joined Reddick for the customary stone yard kissing celebration.

‘I will congratulate him. I’ll congratulate the whole team,” Childress said. “The whole team has done a great job. Congratulations to our sponsors.”

Austin Cindric, driving for track owner Roger Penske, finished second in a Ford and was followed by fellow rookie Harrison Burton, who was a career-best third for Wood Brothers Racing. The No. 21 Ford that Burton drives is an offshoot of Team Penske.

Todd Gilliland was next in fourth for his career-best finish, and the rookie led his first career Cup laps when he was four laps up front on the final leg.

Bubba Wallace in a Toyota for 23XI was fifth, followed by Penske’s Joey Logano and finally Allmendinger, who dropped to seventh at the restart of extra time. Michael McDowell was eighth, followed by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer and RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher, while Ford drivers took seven of the top-10 spots in a race won by a Chevy.

Chevrolet has now won 10 consecutive Cup races on road courses since the manufacturer’s 800th win at Circuit of The Americas in 2021.

BAD BIRTHDAY

Kyle Larson had a crappy 30th birthday with a long Sunday in Indianapolis that ended with a terrifying crash where the brakes on his Chevrolet seemed to fail.

The reigning NASCAR champion was already five laps behind due to an early puncture. His day ended early when Larson seemed unable to slow down his car as he sailed into a corner at full speed and directly into the side of Ty Dillon’s car.

The impact destroyed Dillon’s car. Once Larson was out of his own car, he jogged to Dillon to check on him.

“All I saw was a blue flash,” Dillon said. “That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever hit.”

Larson declined to comment as he left the care facility.

NEXT ONE

NASCAR races at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, the opener for the final stretch of four weeks to complete the playoff field. Ryan Blaney is the defending race winner.

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