Tyler Reddick Staying Positive Amid Stressful Season

After making the Playoffs last year, the RCR driver is on the outside looking in entering the final ten races of the regular season.
Tyler Reddick Staying Positive Amid Stressful Season

The first 16 races of the season have produced an incredible amount of parity in the Cup Series. There have been 12 different race winners already, which is 2nd most all-time. Five drivers have earned their first career pole while four have gone on to win their first career race. Much to the surprise of many, Tyler Reddick is not one of those drivers.

After a successful 2021 campaign, the Richard Childress Racing driver has had a roller coaster ride this year. After making the Playoffs last year, the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet has just 10 races remaining in order to find his way back in. He starts today’s race from the 16th position.

Reddick certainly has had his fair share of rotten luck this season, seeing promising results go by the wayside. There have been some difficult moments to deal with, but he has taken it all in stride. "It’s not easy," Tyler said about everyone keeping their minds right. "When you have a weekend like Talladega where you don’t really get a chance to go up and fight and contend or get in the mix, and then have another weekend where it almost felt the same way."

"It is difficult, but the nice thing is we have a lot of tracks on the schedule that we like," Reddick continued. "Hopefully, we can figure out exactly what it is we’ve been missing a little bit here in these longer races so we can stay up front and stay in the mix. We don’t really have to look at the point standings to know that the last month hasn’t really been good for us in points, so that does add to the frustration of what’s going on."

Tyler Reddick Staying Positive Amid Stressful Season

The good news is that Reddick and the No. 8 team have been running well. They already have four top-five finishes this season, which is one more than they had all of last year. The clock is ticking, though. "A win will be important and if we want to go very far in the playoffs, I think we need to win before the playoffs, and we need to keep that a goal."

"It’s important to take away the positives so you can grow and get better for the next race and the next weekend. It’s definitely crazy how things can change in the matter of one race. I don’t think we are as worried about points going forward. Certainly the mindset shifts more to winning but we’ve been trying to do that all year long."

Tyler has two runner-up finishes this season, at Darlington and the Bristol Dirt race. He is tired of being the bridesmaid though, which is easy to understand. Only one driver has more runner-up finishes without a win all-time than Reddick, who has five in 90 career starts. The most runner-ups all-time prior to a win is 12 by James Hylton, who scored his first win in his 187th career start at Richmond Raceway in 1970.

Reddick joined the RCR organization after winning the 2018 Xfinity Series championship with JR Motorsports. Now in his third full-time season, he has shown that he is ready to be a consistent contender in Cup.

The last four races haven't been kind to Tyler or the team. His 30th place finish at Kansas hurt after starting on the front row and leading 24 laps. He rebounded for a solid 6th place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte but a 16th at Gateway and 35th at Sonoma left a bad taste in his mouth over the off weekend. He gets a chance to rectify that today in Nashville.

Although it was an Xfinity Series race, Reddick did finally find victory lane at the end of last month. Driving for Big Machine Racing, Reddick won the SRS Distribution 250 at Texas in the No. 48 Chevrolet. It was a refreshing moment for the 26-year old, who was hoping to use that to catapult his Cup team’s performance.

Tyler Reddick Staying Positive Amid Stressful Season

Similar to last season, the RCR team could very well be facing a must-win situation to get into the playoffs with their two drivers. Reddick and teammate Austin Dillon sit 14th and 15th in the standings heading into today's race. With just nine regular-season events remaining after today, time is running out.

"I feel like I’ve got a real positive mindset in that our time will come," Dillon said. "The good Lord has blessed us with a bunch of opportunities this year. Charlotte, I could not sleep the next night. All week it ate away at me because we were so close, and I tried to think of all the scenarios. Eventually, you just have to let that go out of your mind and I did. I feel good about it."

"We have lots of speed pretty much every single weekend," Reddick pointed out. "There’s only been maybe two or three where we’ve not had it. We’re up there racing against guys that go to victory lane, some of them we’ve been better than all day to get the job done. It’s frustrating to see it happen, but the last thing any of us want to do when we see that is to get mad, give up, quit or quit putting in the effort that we have been all year. It’s just motivating us even further."

That mindset and confidence is something that has this team on the verge of winning.

"One of the things I like the most about Tyler is he is as much a part of this team as you can possibly be," said crew chief Randall Burnett. "He’s with the guys, at the shop working. He’s doing everything on his end to make himself better, to make this whole deal better. It’s kind of rare to find that these days, so it’s a pretty big privilege for all of us to work with him."

The organization holds an option on Reddick for next season, which only adds more pressure on Reddick’s shoulders. It would be a wise move to keep the talented young driver in the seat. Despite not finding victory lane yet, Reddick has led 249 laps this season. That ranks 6th in the Cup Series and is more than seven other drivers that have won a race this year.

"Winners never quit," Reddick said. "Hopefully, one day, the right break will come our way."

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