It was a wild night for the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing driver Tyler Reddick who won the annual Xfinity Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Qualifying was a disaster for him, as he failed inspection four times and was not allowed to post a lap, therefore had to start at the rear and serve a pass-through at the start of the race. But Reddick took the lead with 14 to go when Justin Allgaier had a flat tire go down late and went on to win at Bristol.
“Man, it’s crazy,” Reddick told PRN Radio. “We had to overcome a lot of things in this race. We had a lot of good cars we were racing against. Unfortunately, we never got to race with a lot of them and that’s how racing goes. Someone’s gotta win, you’ll take them however you can get them.”
A few notes, Erik Jones was back in his first Xfinity Series race since 2017 at Phoenix. Austin Cindric who has been on a tear as of late sat on the pole a couple of hours before the race started. Alongside him was all-time Xfinity wins leader Kyle Busch who started second.
Stage 1: Lap 1-Lap 85
The caution came out early on Lap 7 for the No. 68 of Mason Diaz who blew a right front tire. This gave Reddick a lucky break as he received the free pass and was back on the lead lap.
A few other drivers had issues but no caution was thrown. The No. 17 of Joe Nemechek had smoke coming out while Ray Black Jr was slow on the track on Lap 21. A major incident broke out on the backstretch when Cole Custer, Joey Logano, Christopher Bell and Erik Jones all piled into each other.
Custer, Bell and Jones received the most damage. Custer had power steering issues, Jones went out of the race and Bell would end up many laps down.
Another caution broke came out on Lap 52 for John Hunter Nemechek who spun in Turn 2 after blowing a tire. The caution flew once more on Lap 73 for debris in Turn 2. One more final caution occurred right before the stage break as Reddick got loose and made slight contact with race leader Allgaier in Turn 4.
This would cause the stage to end under caution and Brandon Jones won the first stage after the incident. Allgaier, Ryan Sieg, Michael Annett, Noah Gragson, Landon Cassill, Kyle Busch, Gray Gaulding, Josh Williams and Garrett Smithley rounded out the top-10 finishers in Stage 1.
During the stage Justin Haley had smoke from the cockpit, eventually going to the garage with a tire rub. Under the stage break, Reddick was hit with a safety violation and was sent to the rear.
Stage 2: Lap 92-Lap 170
The sixth caution came out on Lap 121 for the 90 of Ronnie Bassett Jr. who had a freak incident off Turn 2. His right rear tire snapped loose and came completely off the car in front of race leader Kyle Busch. There were some reports that Busch may have had some damage but he reported the car was fine with no issues.
Gragson took the lead for five laps off the restart but Busch retook the lead and led for the final 78 laps to end the stage. Busch won Stage 2 but troubles arose for the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
Despite Busch reporting no major issues, his engine let go right after taking the green-checkered flag for Stage 2. He would be done for the rest of the night and wound up a disappointing 29th after leading 137 laps.
Reddick, Allgaier, Cindric, Hunter Nemechek, Brandon Jones, Briscoe, Annett, Sieg and Clements rounded out the top-10 stage finishers for Stage 2.
There were a few drivers who pitted under caution. Hunter Nemechek was caught with a speeding penalty.
Stage 3: Lap 180-300
There was a long green-flag run when Stage 3 began until a caution broke out on Lap 223 as Michael Annett wrecked in Turn 2.
Another green flag run ensued and Reddick was flying through the field with fresher tires than Allgaier. Sieg was having an impressive run in third place before catching the Turn 2 wall. More problems arose for the No. 39 team as smoke was coming out of the left-rear. He was black-flagged by NASCAR due to the smoke and had to come down pit road.
Sieg pitted for four fresh tires, hoping that would fix the issue, but smoke rose once again. He would be penalized by NASCAR again.
After another long green-flag run, a caution came out with 20 to go for fluid from the No. 52 of David Starr. Christopher Bell also had a right-front tire go down under caution.
This would set up an exciting 14 laps to the finish with Allgaier and Reddick battling each other for the win. Brandon Jones had a flat tire with 11 to go, then the big moment came in the race with 10 to go.
Race leader Allgaier had a flat tire and with that and Tyler Reddick was able to go right on by and score his first-ever win at Bristol.
“I just knew we had a great car,” Reddick added to PRN Radio. “I actually thought we weren’t quite as competitive as the 18 (Busch), 81 (Erik Jones), 12 (Logano), 20 (Bell), for that matter when they got caught up in the wreck. It was just a game-changer for us when we got that caution and got back on the lead lap. Got our lucky dog and from there, we got to the front and made a mistake and we had to do it all over again one more time. This time, we made it work.”
There were nine cautions for 59 laps, with seven leaders among 11 lead changes.
This was Reddick’s fourth win of the season, his first since Michigan in June. He continues to be the championship points leader over Christopher Bell by 54 points.
Up Next: The NASCAR Xfinity Series continues their run to the Playoffs by heading to Road America on Saturday, August 24.