He may have been eliminated from the playoffs, but that didn’t stop him Tyler Reddick from winning in Texas. The RCR driver held on and thankfully the tires did as well, taking the beating Joey Logano to the checkered flag in a race of great attrition.
There was no clear favorite in a race slowed by 16 cautions and even a red flag. Redick has now won three races this season. Only Chase Elliott won more races.
“I was really worried (about the tires), I’m not going to lie,” Reddick said. “Unfortunately, almost every time we had fast cars, we had tire problems. Yes, during the last run, the right sides vibrated very, very strongly.
“I was just trying to maximize and use the gap I created on Joey just in case. I mean, every time we’ve had a strong car, we’ve been bitten by something, man. I am very proud to be able to bring this Lenovo Chevy to Victory Lane. We were at Auto Club earlier this year, so fast with this car. They deserve to travel to get to Victory Lane. We delivered them.”
Keselovsky started from the pole position. He briefly battled Logan for the lead before disposing of him and sailing away.
Wallace made an unscheduled pit stop early on. Keselowski, meanwhile, led the first 30 laps before slipping on the track in Turn 1 and dropping to third.
A few laps later, the first caution flag flew for the spinning Toyota #19 from Martin Truex Jr
Byron took the lead on pit road, taking first place from Logan with the quicker stop. Keselowski was caught speeding and had to restart play from the back end of the field.
Kyle Bush then crashed, becoming the first driver to retire from the race. It was a memorable season for the outgoing JGR driver.
“I was just closing in on No. 11 (Hamlin) and I knew if I was tracking him — following him in the bottom groove, I was going to lose ground,” he said after being released from the infield. “So I went to hi-mane where I spent time in the sticky stuff, (but) apparently sometimes it’s not so sticky.
He then added, “The banana peel is over there. There are too many conditions to be smarter about. I guess I wasn’t very smart.”
The warnings kept coming Ricky Stenhouse Jr spun through the infield. Later, the playoff pilot Christopher Bell cut the rear right tire and spun. Cole Custer around the same time also took a turn with the flute, hitting the wall and dropping out of range.
In the next run, an intense battle for the race lead broke out. Byron rose and Hamlin took control. He was then challenged by Reddick, but Larson managed to get around both of them to take the lead.
Towards the end of the stage, another playoff pilot found problems. Alex Bowman’s car spun and he hit the wall, returning to the race injured and a few laps down.
While many riders took the opportunity to play in the pits, few remained to try and steal a few points for the stage.
With three laps to go, there was contact between Larson and Hamlin in the battle for the stage win. They got away with it, but Hamlin warned, “I’m not going to raise the next one.”
Stenhouse had not pitted during the stage break and was now leading McDowell. Those who did not earn points on the stage are now mostly outside the top 20.
Harrison Burton was able to take command of the famous Ford Brothers No. 21 and led until the next caution. Bell spun again due to another flat tire, this time hitting the outside wall. The team was unable to repair the car in time and had to withdraw from the race.
Elliott won the race off pit road, followed by Chastain with two tires. Behind them, Burton made a disastrous pit stop with a stall fire.
Later in the run there was a scary moment for Cody Ware, which crashed hard into the outer wall. He then shot off the track into the pit wall. After carefully getting out of the car, he was taken to the home center by an ambulance. He was treated and then released.
In that same yellow time, Chastain led a group of drivers down pit road for fuel and fresh rubber, while Elliott stayed away. Larsson was forced to pit twice during the yellow flag period.
The next victim of exhaustion was Elliot himself, who, while leading, blew a tire and hit the outside wall. He quickly got out of the car, which was now on fire.
“The tire went flat, that’s why I crashed,” Elliott explained. “Something fell apart, I heard it hit the right rear wing. If he wasn’t knocked down, he was certainly falling apart.
On his hopes for the title, he added: “To be in this position is probably not very good, it is the way it is now. We actually got decent here for once, it was nice while it lasted. We’re going to go to Talladega and try to survive and get a win down the stretch.”
The tenth caution came for Bucher, who did an excellent job of recovering the car.
Blaney won the second stage ahead of Chastain, Byron, Keselowski, Suarez, A. Dillon, Cindric, Logan, Truex and McDowell.
Larsson with a fuel-only challenge and Logano with a dual-tire challenge won the race off pit road. But they found themselves in the middle of the pack, with about a dozen cars remaining in the lead with McDowell and Jones.
However, a small cell came onto the track and raindrops delayed the restart. Despite blue skies, the race was red flagged and then suspended for 30 minutes due to lightning in the area.
The race resumed with 11 laps to go. Jones hit the wall while battling McDowell for the race lead. Not long after that, Reddick took the lead.
The next warning was Chris Buescher, who crashed with a flat tire while running third. Redick took the chance to box out.
Kevin Harvick was among 11 drivers left out. He was leading the race until he also lost his right rear tire hitting the outside wall.
Truex took the lead in the race, but a similar fate befell him. He clipped the right rear and crashed, ending his hopes of victory.
Under the yellow, Byron spun Hamlin in retaliation for earlier contact. Hamlin then chased Byron under the yellow, promising to bring him back over the radio.
Stenhouse, Todd Gilliland and Chase Briscoe were the only drivers left on the sidelines. Redick quickly cut through them and led the way.
The 15th caution flew when Stenhouse and Cindric flew out of turn 2. The 16th and final warning was issued for spinning Arik Almirola.
Reddick was worried the tires wouldn’t last, but he was able to hang on and win the race, running from green flag to checkered flag.