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What Tyler Reddick’s first Cup win means for him and RCR

By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer

Tyler Reddick didn’t simply earn his first profession Cup victory on Sunday at Road America.

He additionally set himself up for his future.

At 26 years outdated, Reddick is taken into account considered one of NASCAR’s potential future superstars.

As he climbed the NASCAR ladder, he proved he may win races and championships, capturing back-to-back Xfinity titles with two totally different groups (JR Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing).

When he bought to Cup, he was instantly quick. In his first two seasons, he proved he could lead on laps and make the playoffs on factors. The solely factor he hadn’t confirmed was whether or not he may win on the Cup stage.

That modified Sunday, when Reddick outdueled probably the greatest (if not one of the best) road-course racers within the Cup Series in Chase Elliott, who drives for Cup powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports.

It was a win that Reddick is aware of he and his workforce earned.

Tyler Reddick scores first profession NASCAR Cup Series win

Tyler Reddick lastly has a Cup win beneath his belt after his victory Sunday at Road America.

So the place does he go from right here?

The short-term reply is a run on the 2022 Cup title, as Reddick already has a bit of playoff expertise from final yr.

The long-term reply isn’t so easy.

Richard Childress stated months in the past that he supposed to choose up Reddick’s choice for 2023. That looks like a no brainer for RCR, however Reddick additionally is aware of that nearly each workforce within the storage would need him on its driver roster. The undeniable fact that RCR didn’t tear up Reddick’s complete contract and signal him long-term means that RCR must solidify long-term sponsorship to have the ability to afford a driver of Reddick’s caliber.

Reddick stated Saturday that RCR did certainly choose up his choice for subsequent yr, and he’ll drive the No. 8 automotive. But it doesn’t matter what anybody says, so long as he doesn’t have a long-term deal, questions will stay. And if Reddick indicators a deal for 2024 and past with one other workforce, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for that workforce to barter with RCR to lure Reddick away a yr early.

Fast Thoughts after Road America

Bob Pockrass appears to be like at what Tyler Reddick’s win means for him and whether or not there could possibly be 17 regular-season winners.

While Reddick would doubtless respect some long-term safety, he’s in a great place to sit down and wait. The present TV deal runs via 2024, and a brand new one may get completed by subsequent summer season, giving drivers a greater concept of how a lot groups will earn. (Contracts can at all times embrace escalators to regulate for what groups get from a TV deal, however that is simply one other hurdle in negotiating a long-term deal within the present local weather.)

At least three of the main groups may quickly have openings if drivers retire: Joe Gibbs Racing (Martin Truex Jr.), Stewart-Haas Racing (Kevin Harvick) and 23XI Racing (Kurt Busch). None of these drivers has introduced his intentions, however they’re all deep into their careers. Also, most groups doubtless wouldn’t hesitate to make room for Reddick if any of their present drivers under-perform.

Reddick is in an identical place as Kyle Larson was throughout his first contract renegotiation with Chip Ganassi Racing a number of years in the past. Larson re-signed with Ganassi partially as a result of the workforce confirmed potential and believed in him when few others did. Larson loved strong years however by no means had a breakthrough, dominant run with Ganassi.

Reddick may take a look at Larson’s expertise — he gained the title in his first yr at Hendrick Motorsports — and suppose he ought to be a part of one of many organizations which have gained titles in recent times.

But the identical causes that stored Larson at Ganassi may end in Reddick renewing with RCR. Even although he is a California child who doesn’t exude the rough-and-tumble, old-school model of many within the RCR store, his relentless pursuit of velocity and blame-myself-first persona make him a great match within the group.

RCR is the group with which Reddick matured as a driver within the Xfinity Series after a season at JR Motorsports. RCR is the group that launched Daniel Hemric after only one yr to open a Cup spot for Reddick.

Certainly, Reddick is aware of that different organizations have completed extra; the final RCR Cup title got here in 1994, and the final time an RCR driver made the championship race with an opportunity to win the title was 2014. But if there have been any query about what Reddick may accomplish so far as successful races at RCR, the victory Sunday meant every part.

“Everyone wins,” Reddick stated in regards to the potential affect of the victory on his RCR future. “When we’re capable of go on the market and win like this, it’s good for all people. Hopefully it is going to imply extra long-term partnerships with nice companions.

“It’s nice for all people. To get the win, it’s validation for not simply myself, it’s for this workforce, for the companions at RCR.”

That’s what Childress is hoping: that the victory will spark conversations about long-term offers that may permit him to maintain Reddick.

“He’s a winner. … We’ve simply bought to maintain constructing on it,” Childress stated of Reddick. “He’ll be again subsequent yr. We’ve bought extra races to run. We wish to race for the championship, and I feel we may give it a great run for the championship.”

The day earlier than successful at Road America, Reddick was requested whether or not he had began speaking to groups about 2024 and dealing with inquiries from different organizations.

“It’s a troublesome factor,” he stated. “It is much down the road. You’ve bought to get as a lot as you possibly can within the current and the now, however a few of what occurs within the current and the now’s arrange by what you do [have planned] sooner or later.

“I’m actually fascinated with that. I’ve bought a bit of little bit of time, I assume.”

Reddick does have time to speak to groups. And after his efficiency Sunday, he is aware of he has leverage. But that gained’t make the choice any simpler. 

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What to observe for 

The race in March on the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway was very similar to a race at Daytona or Talladega, with huge blocks to attempt to reduce off the draft.

With it being 20-to-30 levels hotter for this week’s race, dealing with ought to come into play, because the observe is slicker with much less grip. That stated, one change that would assist with dealing with is that the observe has smoothed out the bump in Turn 2. 

Teams have made gains with the Next Gen car — and this would be the first observe at which NASCAR races with the Next Gen automotive for a second time — so it wouldn’t be shocking to see drivers who didn’t have good races in March succeed this weekend, and vice versa.

Thinking out loud 

NASCAR docked Noah Gragson 30 factors and fined him $35,000 for deliberately wrecking Sage Karam at Road America. Gragson had earned 36 factors within the occasion, so the 30-point deduction made it as if he completed thirty first (the place Karam completed).

The wreck resulted in a number of drivers struggling heavy harm, together with six who have been knocked out of the race.

NASCAR didn’t penalize Gragson in the course of the race, opting to subject the penalty Wednesday. NASCAR stated it wished to guarantee that there wasn’t a mechanical subject and that the wreck was intentional.

While it is comprehensible that NASCAR would wish to be methodical in issuing penalties, this was a state of affairs that wanted to be dealt with within the second, in the course of the race.

Yes, it’s a judgment name, however it’s one NASCAR has made up to now, and it’s troublesome to recollect a time when a workforce argued that the driving force had a mechanical subject. NASCAR has former drivers and individuals who have watched racing for a very long time officiating races; they need to be capable to inform or not less than decide primarily based on their experiences.

If a driver can’t management the automotive or has a résumé that does not result in the good thing about the doubt, so be it. With this resolution on Gragson, NASCAR opened up each accident to not less than a few days of hypothesis on penalties. Neither the talk nor the storyline appears productive.

Social highlight

 They stated it

“I do not suppose [my girlfriend] Alexa loved being round me when I’d run second place. Yeah, second place is not a foul place to complete. But we’re right here to win races.” —Tyler Reddick

Bob Pockrass has spent many years masking motorsports, together with the previous 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene journal and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass!

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