Tyler Reddick overcame a pit road speeding penalty and damage to the right side of his No. 2 Chevrolet to win Saturday’s MoneyLion 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
With the right side of his Richard Childress Racing Chevy heavily taped after a brush with the outside wall, Reddick crossed the finish line at the end of a two-lap closing dash .127 seconds ahead of runner-up Gray Gaulding, who drove his No. 08 Chevrolet to the first top-10 finish of his career.
The reigning series champion, who moved from JR Motorsports to RCR during the offseason, won for the first time this year, the first time at Talladega and the fourth time in his career, extending his series lead to 32 points over third-place finisher Christopher Bell.
Reddick also won the $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus that goes to the highest finisher among four eligible drivers.
“I tried to take us out of this race so many times, and somehow we got back into the mix and got back to the lead,” said Reddick, who blocked for all he was worth on the final two laps after a seven-car incident on Lap 109 forced NASCAR to red-flag the event for track clean-up.
In fact, Reddick had luck on his side, too. After contact with the wall, he was roughly 200 yards from going a lap down when NASCAR called the third caution of the race on Lap 66 for debris in Turn 1. Twenty laps later, Reddick escaped contact with Noah Gragson’s Chevy without significant damage.
But it was dodging a Lap 95 wreck involving pole winner Michael Annett, Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer that finally gave Reddick the sense that it might be his day.
“As soon as I missed that wreck when the 00 (Custer) and the 1 (Annett) got caught up, and I somehow missed it, and the 23 (John Hunter Nemechek) did a great job weaving his way out of it, too, I thought, ‘There must be a reason why I wasn’t in that wreck,’” Reddick said. “It was just a lot of fun to work my way back to the front.”
Chase Briscoe finished fourth, as he Reddick, Bell and Gaulding earned the four qualifying positions for next Saturday’s Dash4Cash race at Dover.
Austin Cindric was fifth, followed by Nemecheck, Justin Haley, Josh Williams, Landon Cassill and Chris Cockrum, who, like Gaulding, scored his first career top 10.
Gaulding had a run on the backstretch on the final lap, but a block from Briscoe slowed his momentum.
“I was kind of the lone ranger out there,” Gaulding said. “I think I just had to earn a lot of people’s respect. I did as much as I could to get beside him (Reddick), but when the 98 (Briscoe) came up, he kind of blocked my run.
“Man, it was so, so close. Man, what a day, baby. Talladega—let’s go!”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!