Tyler Reddick wins crash-filled NASCAR Cup playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway

September 25, 2022

Tyler Reddick (8) crosses the finish line to win the Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Sunday, Sept. 25. 2002. Photo By David Barks

Elliott Stern, Sports Editor

Fort Worth, Tx – Tyler Reddick won Sunday’s NASCAR playoff race – the 18th annual Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 – at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

A week after being eliminated from the Cup Series playoffs, Reddick posted his third win of the year, and first on an oval track.

“It’s just great to win here in a Cup car,” said Reddick, who races for Richard Childress Racing but recently announced that he’s moving to the 23XI team in 2024. “It was a wild day. We had a really fast Chevy but had a lot of issues today. We had tire vibration issues early and late but at the end, we were just going to run until something happened.”

“I really think this is a championship team and hopefully we’ll win more races before the year is out,” said Randall Burnett, the crew chief of Reddick’s car.

Tyler Reddick does the traditional winner’s burnout after the NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 25. 2002. Photo By David Barks

Joey Logano finished second, 1.190 seconds back, the top finisher among the drivers remaining in the championship chase as the Round of 12 officially began.

Justin Hayley came in third, followed by Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Erik Jones, William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin.

Joey Logano (22) crosses the finish line to finish second at the Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Sunday, Sept. 25. 2002. Photo By David Barks

It was a record-setting afternoon that stretched into the night but it was not the kind of record NASCAR officials hoped for.

The first record – the temperature. It was the hotest race ever at the Texas track.

The race was marred by 16 cautions, breaking the Texas Motor Speedway record of 14 set in 2014, as cars were plagued with tire issues throughout.

Martin Truex Jr. led the hit parade when his right front tire blew on lap 41 coming out of Turn 4, sending him into the wall.

His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch was done for the day on lap 50, just after the restart, when his right rear went down, sending him into the wall and back to the garage.

Remarkably, 30 of the 36 cars finished the race despite the tire problems that continued all the way.

“We knew the tire situation and played it out,” said Richard Childress. “Randall and Tyler did a beautiful job of managing the situation.”

“I start by holding my breath a lot – we’ve had four tires go down this year while we were leading a race,” said Burnett. “We were a little conservative coming in and as the race went on, we got even more conservative. Fortunately, that strategy worked for us.”

Three drivers who were leading the race – Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. – blew tires, ending Elliott and Truex’s days and knocking Harvick out of contention.

Truex’s day was done after blowing a second tire, this time on Lap 269.

As the caution flag flew, Byron and Hamlin added to the day’s drama.

Byron said Hamlin ran him up the track and into the wall coming out of Turn 2. Byron retaliated by bumping into Harvick which sent Harvick into the infield.

“It was really hard contact,’’ said Byron. “I didn’t mean to spin him out over there but obviously I’m pissed off and not going to get run like that. We’ve always raced together so well so I don’t know what it was all about.”

Hamlin saw the incident differently.

“I don’t think we touched but obviously he sent us through the infield under caution,’’ said Hamlin. “This is hard racing obviously. I’m fine with hard racing. But wrecking me under caution is not what we bargained for. I’m thankful to my FedEx Toyota team for bouncing back.’’

The race stretched on into the night after lightning was seen in the area, causing a 56-minute red flag stoppage just before the beginning of stage three.

Despite his problems, Reddick was in contention the whole day.

He finally took the lead on Lap 281 and survived two late cautions to lead 42 of the final 43 laps of the 334-lap race over the speedway’s 1.5-mile oval.

With Reddick’s win, each of the first four Cup playoff races has been won by a non-playoff racer.

“To finally cross the (finish) line was a huge sigh of relief,” said Reddick. I missed the Round of 12 by two points. I’d love to be racing for a championship but we can still go out and win races the rest of the way.”

Tyler Reddick celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 25. 2002. Photo By David Barks

The second of three races in the Round of 12 in the Cup Series continues next Sunday with the YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

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