Tyler Reddick claimed his third win of the season and his first career win on an oval course, by beating NASCAR Cup Series leader Joey Logano at the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 held at the Texas Motorsport Speedway.
The race was an incident-packed affair with Reddick and Logano forced to go head to head for a 24-lap dash to finish with the Richard Childress Racing driver beating Logano by 1.190 seconds.
Behind them a chaotic race unfolded, with 16 caution periods and a 56-minute delay owing to a red flag for rain, causing several drivers to jostle for position up and down the order, leading to a record 36 lead changes. Ultimately behind Reddick and Logano, it was Justin Haley, Ryan Blaney, and Chase Briscoe who rounded out the top five.
Reddick admits he was worried about tyres
One of the more prominent themes of the evening was tyre management with several drivers struggling for grip while fighting for position. Reddick admitted that he was concerned about the possibility of his tyres dropping off while he fended off the challenge of Logano.
“I was extremely worried (about the tyres), I’m not going to lie,” Reddick said after the race.
“Unfortunately, just about every time we’ve had fast cars, we’ve had some tire problems. Yeah, that last run the right sides were vibrating really, really hard there.
“I was just trying to maximize and use the gap that I built over Joey just in case. I mean, every time we’ve had a strong car, we’ve been bit by something, man. Just really proud to be able to get this Lenovo Chevy to Victory Lane. We were at Auto Club earlier this year, so fast with this car. They deserve to go to get to Victory Lane. We got them there.”
Byron and Hamlin embroiled in on-track controversy
Behind the leaders, Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron and Joe Gibbs Racing racer Denny Hamlin, who eventually finished 10th, were the other big talking point of the race with the pair’s coming together causing drama towards the end of the race.
The incident started when Byron felt Hamlin pushed him into the wall while fighting for position with the North Carolina native then driving Hamlin off the circuit during a caution period.
“It was really hard contact,” Byron said post the incident.
“I didn’t mean to spin him out over there, but obviously I’m pissed off and not going to get run like that. We’ve always raced together so well so I don’t know what it was all about.
“I went to go show my displeasure. Didn’t mean to hit him and spin him out. … I’m just not going to get run like that. There’s really no reason. We were running second and third at the time, I think.’’
Hamlin for his part said he made a mental note of the incident and would exact revenge when an opportunity presented itself in the future.
“I don’t think we touched but obviously he sent us through the infield under caution,’’ Hamlin stated.
I keep hearing these guys and I’ll just add it to the list, guys that when I get a chance, they’re going to get it. It just works itself out. We’ll be racing each other at some point. He’ll lose a lot of spots because he’s racing me.
“This is hard racing obviously. I’m fine with hard racing. But wrecking me under caution is not what we bargained for. I’m thankful to my FedEx Toyota team for bouncing back.’’
Following a fourth consecutive race in which a driver eligible for the postseason championship failed to win, Logono now leads the championship from Trackhouse’s Ross Chastian.
The next round of the championship will now take place at the Talladega Superspeedway when the circuit convenes for the YellaWood 500.
AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Top 10 Results
|1||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress||4:21’53.220|
|3||Justin Haley||Kaulig Racing||+1.768|
|5||Chase Briscoe||Stewart-Haas Racing||+4.144|
|6||Erik Jones||Petty GMS||+4.326|
|7||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||+4.378|
|8||Brad Keselowski||RFK Racing||+5.037|
|9||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||+5.504|
|10||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||+5.621|