Tyler Reddick wins NASCAR Cup Series race at COTA
Tyler Reddick passed William Byron for the lead with four laps from the scheduled end and held on through three overtimes to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas.
Shortly after Reddick took the lead, the field was slowed under caution as debris flew from Austin Dillon’s car. The field was stacked again as the race was pushed into overtime, giving challengers another shot at Reddick.
Reddick outran the rest of the field through the dangerous first turn and built a one-second lead before another caution for the damaged cars of Ryan Blaney and Ryan Preece bunched the field again.
The third caution in a row appeared when Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez crashed in the first turn, eliminating Reddick’s lead once more.
Again, Reddick shot away from the rest of the field on the restart and held the lead through another green-white-checkered to take the win, his third career road course victory. Following at the finish were Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Ross Chastain and Byron.
The win was Reddick’s first of the season and also the first this year for Toyota and 23XI Racing. His car was a rocket much of the day, allowing him to pit one more time than most of the other contenders and still race out front.
"(The win) means the world,” Reddick told Fox Sports. “This whole 23XI team has been working so hard all winter long to make the road course program better. Was extremely motivated to come in here and prove that performance, too.”
Reddick and Byron were the race kingpins most of the day. Reddick led 41 laps and Byron 28. No one else led more than two.
Reddick, 27, held the lead with 12 laps remaining when Brad Keselowski’s Ford stalled, bringing out a caution, bunching the field and changing the dynamic of the finish.
During the caution period, Christopher Bell, Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kimi Raikkonen and Preece stayed on track to inherit the starting spots at the front. Reddick dropped out of the lead to pit for tires and fuel. Chastain, who had been running third, was delayed in the pits by a slow right-front tire change.
On the restart, the field crowded into Turn 1, and Reddick burst into the lead as several cars, including Chastain, spun, causing another caution. Suarez, Chastain, Byron and Bowman trailed Reddick before they all rolled into the pits.
Reddick breezed to a win in Stage 2. He was seven seconds in front of Austin Dillon at stage end.
Byron won the first stage, leading eight laps to five by Reddick.
Jenson Button had the best day of the road-course “ringers” in the field, finishing 18th. Jordan Taylor, substituting for the injured Chase Elliott, was 24th, and Kimi Raikkonen was 29th.
Stage 1 winner: William Byron
Stage 2 winner: Tyler Reddick
Who had a good race: Winner Tyler Reddick and William Byron fought for the lead much of the afternoon. They split the first two stage wins. ... Ross Chastain, who scored the first win of his Cup career in this race last year, raced into the top five in the final miles. ... Kyle Busch had another solid run for Richard Childress Racing, finishing second.
Who had a bad race: Former champion Jimmie Johnson, making a rare Cup start, had a short day. He was one of five drivers involved in a crash on Lap 1, and he parked his Chevrolet for the day. ... Bubba Wallace’s car was damaged in a Lap 11 accident that also involved Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson. He did not return to the race. ... AJ Allmendinger finished 34th after being involved in an accident.
Next: The Cup tour rolls on to Richmond Raceway for an April 2 race (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1).