Tyler Reddick beats NASCAR's top road racer at Road America for his first Cup victory

·5 min read

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Tyler Reddick didn’t just pick up his first NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday. He made a statement.

In the final stage of a race that Chase Elliott had dominated – and that he had won a year earlier – Reddick hounded the polesitter at Road America, pounced on a rare Elliott mistake and then drove to the finish to win the Kwik Trip 250 presented by JOCKEY Made in America.

The 26-year-old Californian, who cut his teeth in open-wheel, short-track racing, finished 3.304 seconds ahead of Elliott, the 2020 Cup Series champion and the most successful road racer in modern NASCAR.

“I thought he was going to run me back down,” Reddick said in his USA Network television interview. “I started to make some mistakes (and then) started to take care of the brakes. Apparently I didn't need to. Yeah, very good shape there. What a day.”

Reddick became the series’ fifth first-time winner this season and the 13th driver to win through 18 races. He also pushed to 16 the streak of races in NASCAR’s top two divisions without a repeat winner.

A two-time champion and 10-time winner in the Xfinity Series, Reddick needed 92 starts to score his first Cup victory in his third full season with Richard Childress Racing. He had finished second six times.

Reddick’s best finish in three Xfinity starts at Road America was third in 2019. He finished eighth last year in the return of NASCAR’s top division after 65 years.

Tyler Reddick celebrates with his team after winning the KWIK TRIP 250, Sunday at Road America.
Tyler Reddick celebrates with his team after winning the KWIK TRIP 250, Sunday at Road America.

Elliott dominated the first two-thirds of the race from the pole and led 36 of the 62 laps, giving up the top spot only in the pit stop cycles.  But after he and Reddick left the pits with 19 laps to go in the 62-lap race, Reddick was as close as he’d been.

When Elliott missed Turn 5 three laps later, Reddick pounced to the inside. They stayed side by side to Turn 6, another lefthander, when Reddick got clear.

It took several laps for others to make their final scheduled pit stop, but Reddick took the lead from Harrison Burton on the 47th lap, just before Burton pitted.

“I definitely knew he was fast, but we could stay with him on the long run, which told me if we cycled through that last pit sequence, we’d be close or get around him, we’d have a great shot,” Reddick said. “Didn't quite get around him. We were within reach. Thankfully just waited for the right opportunity and was able to take advantage of it in Turn 6.”

Elliott – who has scored seven of his 15 Cup wins on road courses – shadowed Reddick for 10 laps but then drifted back.

Kyle Larson finished third, 21 seconds back followed by Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez as Chevrolet swept the top five. Chastain and Suarez are also among the first-time winners this season.

Kwik Trip 250 presented by JOCKEY Made in America Results

Sunday at the 4.05-mile road course at Road America (starting position in parentheses):

1. (4) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 62 laps, 41 points.

2. (1) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 62, 38.

3. (3) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 62, 34.

4. (12) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 62, 33.

5. (17) Daniel Suárez, Chevrolet, 62, 32.

6. (7) Chris Buescher, Ford, 62, 31.

7. (5) Austin Cindric, Ford, 62, 39.

8. (6) Michael McDowell, Ford, 62, 29.

9. (21) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 62, 0.

10. (28) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 62, 27.

11. (19) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 62, 36.

12. (8) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 62, 33.

13. (15) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 62, 24.

14. (2) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 62, 33.

15. (10) Cole Custer, Ford, 62, 22.

16. (29) William Byron, Chevrolet, 62, 21.

17. (14) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 62, 20.

18. (16) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 62, 19.

19. (33) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Chevrolet, 62, 18.

20. (30) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 62, 25.

21. (9) Joey Hand, Ford, 62, 25.

22. (23) Harrison Burton, Ford, 62, 24.

23. (22) Kurt Busch, Toyota, 62, 27.

24. (34) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 62, 20.

25. (32) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 62, 12.

26. (27) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 62, 20.

27. (18) Joey Logano, Ford, 62, 17.

28. (24) Aric Almirola, Ford, 62, 9.

29. (13) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 62, 8.

30. (37) Kyle Tilley, Ford, 61, 7.

31. (20) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, brakes, 60, 6.

32. (31) Cody Ware, Ford, 59, 5.

33. (11) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 58, 4.

34. (35) Corey Lajoie, Chevrolet, 57, 3.

35. (25) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, brakes, 54, 9.

36. (26) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 52, 0.

37. (36) Loris Hezemans, Ford, fuelpump, 9, 0.

––– Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 96.627 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 35 minutes, 51 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 3.304 seconds.

Caution Flags: 2 for 2 laps.

Lead Changes: 8 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: C.Elliott 0-12; C.Briscoe 13-16; C.Elliott 17-28; R.Blaney 29-31; C.Elliott 32-43; R.Blaney 44; D.Hamlin 45; H.Burton 46; T.Reddick 47-62

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): C.Elliott, 3 times for 36 laps; T.Reddick, 1 time for 16 laps; R.Blaney, 2 times for 4 laps; C.Briscoe, 1 time for 4 laps; D.Hamlin, 1 time for 1 lap; H.Burton, 1 time for 1 lap.

Wins: C.Elliott, 2; R.Chastain, 2; J.Logano, 2; W.Byron, 2; D.Hamlin, 2; Ky.Busch, 1; K.Larson, 1; A.Bowman, 1; Ku.Busch, 1; A.Cindric, 1; C.Briscoe, 1; D.Suárez, 1; T. Reddick.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: NASCAR: Tyler Reddick tops Chase Elliott at Road America for first win

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