Richard Childress knew it was a matter of when Tyler Reddick was going to win his first NASCAR Cup Series race, and that’s what the Hall of Fame team owner kept preaching to his driver.
“[We] had a couple of meetings, all of us, and talked about what it’s going to take to get us in the winner’s circle, and that’s not beat yourself and be solid, and that’s what these guys did today,” Childress said Sunday at Road America. “When you beat Chase Elliott, you beat one of the best, and Hendrick’s guys — hats off to them. They’ve got their four cars in [the playoffs], and we’ve got one of ours. We’ve got one more to try to get in.”
Childress revealed he told Reddick before the race he would win the Kwik Trip 250.
Reddick put in a perfect final stage to pressure Chase Elliott before the final round of green-flag pit stops and then overtake him after they were complete. Reddick then led the final 16 laps and drove to a margin of victory of over three seconds on a driver who has seven road course wins.
“He works really hard it,” Childress said of Reddick. “I knew this would be a good shot he had at winning this race, and he was over at the road course at Charlotte on the go-kart track practicing. We talked a little bit up here this morning that we knew what he could do here to get it right.
“As far as being nervous at the end of the race, four or five laps to go, I said, ‘We just don’t need a caution.’ Then with two laps to go, the No. 3 [teammate Austin Dillon] blew a left front rotor coming into [Turn] 5, and I said, ‘Here we go again; here’s that caution.’ But [Dillon] was able to get off and go straight and saved the day for us.”
Reddick had been close to his first career win many times before. He finished third at Phoenix, was spun from the race lead at Bristol on the final lap in Turn 3, and was second at Darlington, to name a few examples.
Five times before finally breaking through at Road America had Reddick been a runner-up in the Cup Series. The win came in his 92nd series start.
Childress hired Reddick in 2019. The team won the Xfinity Series championship that season before Reddick was moved into the Cup Series in 2020.
“I’ve watched Tyler since he was running the trucks,” Childress said. “He struggled a little bit there, but he was always driving the trucks to their limit. Then when he got in the Xfinity [Series] at JR Motorsports, he was the same. He’s got so much talent, he just pushes that limit every week, and I knew…talking with him — and I told him this morning — ‘You’re going to win this race; we just can’t beat ourselves. Be solid.’
“I was just proud of what these guys have done and accomplished, and it’s been a huge team effort. To have our engines today out there running like they were — the HCD engines that Hendrick and I are working together to develop — it made me feel really good.”
The victory should put Reddick in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.