Tyler Reddick wasn’t going to win Sunday’s race at Daytona International Speedway because he had no interest in trying to do so in his No. 8 Chevrolet.
He finished second and didn’t hide that he became a company man for Richard Childress Racing as soon as he got behind teammate Austin Dillon’s No. 3 car in the final two laps of the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Once he did find Dillon’s bumper, Reddick became a buffer to a hungry pack of drivers and helped make sure both Childress cars were in the playoffs.
“I know that may be hard to believe,” Reddick said of sticking with his teammate. “But certainly, I had no interest and he knew that. I wasn’t going to pass him. I was going to be playing blocker for the rest of the field.”
Reddick had already locked up a postseason spot with wins at Road America and Indianapolis. But Dillon needed to win the regular-season finale to join him. He laid the bumper to Austin Cindric with three laps to go to get him out of shape and take the lead.
When Dillon moved Cindric, it opened the door for Reddick, who was fourth. the No. 8 shot to the bottom under Cindric while Noah Gragson went to the outside.
The underlying story is that Reddick has just over a year left with Childress, as he’s already announced he’s leaving at the end of the 2024 season. The tension within the organization since the announcement is not a secret, but it had nothing to do with why Reddick stayed loyal.
“That’s not why I did it,” he said. “I did it for Austin. It wasn’t even on my mind, honestly. It was trying to get my friend, my teammate, fellow driver at RCR in the playoffs because it’s not just my group of guys that deserve it. It’s everybody at RCR that works really hard on these cars and now both of [them] are in the playoffs.”
A year ago, Reddick earned the final spot by points over his teammate in the same playoff-deciding race. Now for the first time since 2017, Childress has multiple cars in the playoffs.
Nothing changes for the No. 8 driver as he looks forward to continuing to work with his teammate and all Chevrolet drivers. The RCR teammates are two of eight Chevrolet drivers eligible for the championship.
“We have been doing that all year long,” Reddick said of working with Dillon. “The No. 8’s had some struggles this year, and the No. 3’s been there to help us and vice versa. It’s really good that a lot of Chevrolets — whether it’s Trackhouse, Hendrick, ourselves — all of our cars are in the playoffs, so we’re able to really work together in a lot of key races coming up.
“I think [it’s] 15 out of 27 races that Chevy cars have won. Things are clicking. I know today was a little chaotic but still a win; still counts. [Our] cars have had good speed and now all of us together are going to be able to work toward the same goal, and that’s making it through the playoffs, and hopefully, four of us make it to the championships four.”