Sick-feeling Reddick still manages top-five finish at Atlanta

Rusty Jarrett/Motorsport Images

Sick-feeling Reddick still manages top-five finish at Atlanta


Sick-feeling Reddick still manages top-five finish at Atlanta


Tyler Reddick pulled off a top-five finish in Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on a day when it looked iffy that he’d even get behind the wheel.

So under the weather was Reddick before the race, 23XI Racing fitted John Hunter Nemechek to the No. 45 Toyota. Nemechek was suited up and on the pit box all afternoon, ready to go if he needed to relieve Reddick.

Not only did Reddick make the race’s start, but he also went the distance in the 400-mile event without issue and was in contention for the race win. He ran inside the top three through the final laps and crossed under the white flag in fourth position before returning to a fifth-place result.

“I feel all right,” Reddick said afterward. “I picked a good time to kind of get over whatever was going on. Made it through the race; don’t feel too bad. I wish we would have finished better than fifth. I definitely wasn’t my best out there today, mentally. I made a few poor decisions, but we were thankfully able to bring the car home fifth.”

Reddick earned points in the second stage and kept his car in one piece. Running as high as second as the race wound down, he led the way in the outside lane as Brad Keselowski tried to keep the field at bay by moving from the inside to the outside lane.

The race for the win came down to who made the right move at the right time. Joey Logano prevailed while Reddick was left lamenting what could have been if he was in a better state.

“Oh, yeah, every lap was an opportunity for sure,” the 23XI driver said. “I don’t know — I was just trying to think what the right time to make the move was, and I was trying to do it where me, Denny (Hamlin), and Christopher (Bell) could take advantage of the momentum.

“I just waited too long and put Christopher and Denny in a spot where they were ready to go before I was. So I have to work on that going forward.”

Atlanta was another much-needed result for Reddick and the team, however. After back-to-back DNFs to start the season, Reddick has made the finish in the last three races, and the performance and results are improving, helping them climb out of an early championship point standings hole.

Reddick has been seeking normal race weekends after a rough start. Aside from poor finishes, the team didn’t get on track before the race at Las Vegas because of an engine issue before practice and qualifying. They then pulled off a top-five result in Phoenix and did so again Sunday.

“Well, this weekend wasn’t very normal for me, I’m not going to lie,” he joked about his physical condition. “Yeah, I definitely could have made a lot better decisions on the racetrack, but we’ll take it. A fifth place isn’t bad.”