Tyler Reddick may be a rookie in the NASCAR Cup Series, but he’s driven like a grizzled veteran through the first 12 races of the 2020 season. Reddick’s latest eye-opening performance came in Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he collected a ton of Stage Points and walked away with a fourth-place finish — the best of his young career.
Reddick, 24, rolled from the grid in the 24th starting spot, but he wasted little time working his way to the front of the 38-car field.
When the red flag was displayed on lap six for lightning in the area, Reddick had already moved his way to 13th.
After a more than two hour delay, Reddick would fire off quick again when the green flag came back out. By the competition caution on lap 20, Reddick was sitting in fifth, and he was basically a top-five runner for the remainder of the race.
“The men and women of RCR and ECR did a great job preparing us with a fast race car to bring down to my favorite track on the circuit,” Reddick said after the race. “We were able to use that speed to our advantage and race into the top 10 within the first 30 laps, and were able maintain that track position.”
In the early going, Reddick radioed that his car was nearly flawless in turns three and four, but was just a little off in turns one and two. If it was a little off, it wasn’t by much as Reddick would finish Stage 1 in third spot, collecting eight Stage Points in the process.
The California-native fired off in fifth spot at the beginning of Stage 2, but would quickly work his way back up to third. In this Stage, Reddick would lead briefly during a cycle of green flag stops — the first laps led in his Cup Series career — and by the end of Stage 2 he was battling Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney for the runner-up spot.
After a hotly contested battle, Reddick took the second position and would score nine more Stage Points at the conclusion of Stage 2.
Reddick would hover inside the top-five the rest of the final Stage of the race, and in the closing laps he was part of a four-man race for the win.
Ultimately, Reddick would fade while Denny Hamlin sailed to another win — his third of the season — but Reddick would hold on for a hard-fought fourth-place finish.
Following the effort, Reddick held his head high after the incredible performance put in by his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing team.
“I’m really proud of my Chevy Cares Chevrolet team and the effort we showed today,” Reddick beamed. “We had really good speed today and were able to run up front pretty much all night long.”
Despite being within earshot of his first career win, Reddick took solace in running the closing laps with some of the best current race car drivers on the planet.
“We got a little too tight by the end of the night to really make the fence work like I wanted, but all in all, it was a solid effort tonight,” Reddick explained. “I’ve won the past two times I’ve come here, granted in the Xfinity Series, but it was so fun to be ripping the fence with three of the best tonight in the NASCAR Cup Series. It was a hard-fought battle and one we can build momentum off of.”
Following his latest good run, Reddick now sits 17th in the Cup Series championship standings, just two points behind his RCR teammate Austin Dillon for the Playoff Cutoff spot.
Reddick has a top-five and three top-10 finishes through the first 12 races, and his powerful performance has netted him a 70-point lead in the 2020 Rookie of the Year standings over John Hunter Nemechek. As the circuit heads to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend, Reddick will be looking for more.
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.