Reddick wins XFINITY Playoff opener at Kentucky

by Tucker White On Sat, Sep. 23, 2017

Tyler Reddick celebrates victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Photo: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

SPARTA, Ky. — Tyler Reddick’s entire No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing XFINITY Series team will enjoy a free vacation to Myrtle Beach, thanks to his overtake of Ryan Preece just past halfway to win the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

He got underneath Preece exiting Turn 4 on Lap 126 and edged him out at the line to take the lead. Reddick only lost it once more during the final cycle of green flag stops with roughly 50 laps to go, Kyle Benjamin led for eight circuits, before it cycled back to him and he drove on to a 14.540-second victory.

“Well it was all about execution and having a smart race and Mike Shiplett obviously did a great job on the box, Reddick said. “This is obviously the goal we are working towards, is winning a race. It’s all about being smart, executing and not making mistakes. We had plenty of opportunities throughout this race to throw it away, whether it was being too aggressive passing lapped cars, trying to pass for the lead, pass for position on the race track or even coming to pit road, or on pit road. So plenty of opportunities to give the race away. We had a pretty sizable lead. So it was our race to throw away and we played it smart. We were conservative, we were safe and it got us here to victory lane.”

It was his first career victory in 15 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts.

Brennan Poole finished second and Justin Allgaier rallied from an early flat tire to round out the podium.

“My team at JR Motorsports obviously does a great job,” said Allgaier. “We talked about not beating ourselves in the first playoff race. You know, it was unfortunate there getting a flat tire. It wasn’t in our control. We did what we had to do and persevered through it and we did a great job on pit calls and pit stops. I thought we had a car that maybe could win the race. After the race, I told my team we might not have won the playoffs tonight but we definitely salvaged what we needed to tonight to move ourselves forward.”

Preece and Cole Custer rounded out the top-five.

Elliott Sadler, Daniel Hemric, Brian Scott, Matt Tifft and Ryan Reed rounded out the top-10.

RACE SUMMARY

Benjamin led the field to the green flag at 8:17 p.m. He led almost all of the first stage, before Custer took over the lead with three remaining in it to win the first stage.

During the first stage, Allgaier suffered a right-front tire failure and fell as low as 39th (two laps down).

Benjamin took the lead back by beating Custer off pit road, but Custer took the lead back on the ensuing Lap 51 restart and drove on to win the second stage. Sadler opted not to pit under the second stage break and assumed the race lead.

Playoff driver William Byron made an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 102 to remove a piece of trash from his grille.

Preece, on new tires, took the lead from Sadler going into Turn 1 on Lap 105. Reddick took it from Benjamin on Lap 126, setting up the run to the finish.

CAUTION SUMMATION

The first caution flew on Lap 45 for the end of the first stage. Caution flew for the second time on Lap 75 when Angela Ruch spun in Turn 4. The end of the second stage brought out the third and final caution of the race.

NUTS & BOLTS

The race lasted one hour, 58 minutes and 38 seconds, at an average speed of 151.728 mph. There were eight lead changes among five different drivers and three cautions for 14 laps.

Allgaier and Custer leave Kentucky, tied, with a two-point lead over Sadler. Brendan Gaughan, Blake Koch, Michael Annett and Jeremy Clements leave in the bottom-four spots.

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