Redemption on Tyler Reddick's Mind at Auto Club Speedway

After dominating most of the race at Auto Club Speedway last year, Tyler Reddick saw his first career Cup win disappear after crashing because of a tire issue.
Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing
Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing

Tyler Reddick doesn't know how to feel about Fontana, as his relationship with Auto Club Speedway is difficult to get a read on. He has only raced here twice in the Cup series, with mixed results. His debut in 2020 as a rookie ended well, with an 11th place finish despite not leading any laps. Last year, he won both stages and led 90 laps before a stroke of bad luck wiped him out of contention.

The series did not race here in 2021 because of the pandemic, and this will be the final race on the 2-mile oval before the facility begins renovations to convert into a half-mile track. It was a bitter end to a once promising day for Tyler last year, but he goes into the race tomorrow with a renewed sense of optimism.

Obviously, the biggest change now is that Reddick is driving a Toyota for 23XI Racing. The driver of the No. 45 Camry also knows the best way around this track is to ride the high line, near the wall. That is where Tyler excels, and were he will try to keep his Toyota tomorrow.

Reddick will certainly be aiming for a better result than last week. The Daytona 500 had a bit of uncertainty for Reddick, as he tried to get a feel for how the Toyota moved in the pack of 40 cars. Ultimately, a tap from behind sent his Camry into a spin, triggering a massive crash that relegated him to a 39th place finish.

"We could push really well, and we could really make progress through the pack, but that was the first time I was getting any pushes in the lead and the car seemed a little unstable. I’ve had this before, but yeah, I was kind of caught off guard by what happened in the corner. I got loose and unfortunately took out some other good cars."

Redemption on Tyler Reddick's Mind at Auto Club Speedway

It was not the debut that Reddick or the team were hoping for, but that is the wild card known as Daytona. The race this weekend plays more into the hands of the drivers, which is good for everyone. Tyler can navigate this circuit with the best of them, evidenced by his performance last year.

The only drawback was the fact that qualifying was rained out, which puts this team at the base of the mountain. Reddick will start 35th tomorrow but he remains confident about his ability to work his way to the front.

Reddick will debut Monster Brewing’s "The Beast Unleashed" paint scheme tomorrow in the race, and desperately wants to win on this configuration before it goes away. "I'm going to make sure to soak in the last race this weekend," he said. Every driver will be extra motivated for the win tomorrow, because no one is quite sure if/when the series will be back in Fontana.

Reddick ultimately got his first Cup victory (three wins total) later in the season, but he was on pace to make it happen in dominating fashion here last year. If he can be the last driver to win here on the big track, that will be just as gratifying to him. If not, then he can just forget about Fontana and move on like the other 35 drivers this weekend.

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