Tyler Reddick led the most laps (84) in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but in the end it took impeccable driving in a duel with Cole Custer for the 23-year old to secure his second-consecutive series title.
Down the stretch, Reddick hit his marks perfectly, while Custer slapped the wall late. As a result, Reddick cruised to the race win and the championship.
Reddick becomes the first driver in the modern era to win back-to-back championships in a NASCAR National Series with different race teams.
“It’s all about this race team,” Reddick said. “I was just honored to pilot this Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. This Tame the Beast Chevrolet was just so fast; and just hat’s off to Team Chevy and all those guys for working on this Chevrolet, and all the guys at ECR for giving us great power. I’m losing my breath. I’m that excited. This one means so much. It was just a lot better year and it was really cool to go back-to-back”
Reddick won the 2018 title driving the No. 9 car for JR Motorsports.
For Custer, it was the second-consecutive season that he finished runner-up to Reddick for the championship.
This time, was perhaps even more heartbreaking as the No. 00 came back from a lap down and looked to be in the cat-bird seat for the win, until Reddick snagged the race from him. Despite the loss though, Custer found solace in knowing he was closer to besting Reddick than a season ago.
“I could kind of match his lap time there and studied his in-car all the way coming here trying to figure out how to run the top better,” said Custer. “I got close. I tried to find a way to close the gap when I was behind and tried too hard and got into the fence. What can you say? Tyler can just rip the top here. That is all you can really say about it. I can’t thank my guys enough this year. We have had an unbelievable year. It sucks to come home second two years in a row. We will take it. We were a lot closer this year. I don’t know. I have to thank Gene Haas. I wouldn’t be here without him. His support means everything. Tony (Stewart), he was a huge help today keeping me calm and everything. I am looking forward to next year and seeing what we’ve got.”
Christopher Bell, missed pit road on the final pit stop of the night, and finished third in the championship standings as he came home fifth.
And it was a disappointing night for Justin Allgaier who finished the year fourth in the standings by coming home 14th.
I’m not sure if they knew we were here or not,” Allgaier said. “We didn’t have the speed we were looking for tonight. It was disappointing. I mean, we felt like yesterday in practice the seven laps that we got that our balance was pretty good, and we were excited about tonight because we felt like the things that we worked on yesterday and the things that we had worked on in the shop and trying to make better for our program we had done. And unfortunately tonight we just ‑‑ we were just way too loose to really push at the speed that a lot of those guys were running. It was disappointing.”
Reddick, Custer and Bell are all slated to move to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020.
Chase Briscoe won Stage 1 and came back from cutting a tire and hitting the wall to finish third, while Noah Gragson finished fourth.
John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, Jeb Burton and Harrison Burton rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.
Post-Race Stat Pack:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.