NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Tyler Reddick says he won’t be “waffling” around when it comes to “creaming” the competition for the Sparks Energy 300 at TalladegaSuperspeedway on Saturday, April 28. Well, he didn’t quite put it in those exact terms during a visit Thursday to Birmingham, but his actions while in the Magic City, at least told part of that story.
Reddick, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, served ice cream to a kindergarten class at neighboring Hueytown Elementary School and then later showcased his talents in the kitchen by sporting an apron and making homemade waffle cones for local media and customers at the delicious Big Spoon Creamery.
“No question that we want to win the Sparks Energy 300, and that is our main goal when we come back in a couple of weeks,” said Reddick, who went to Gatorade Victory Lane in the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway, a 2.5 mile “Super” Superspeedway similar to the 2.66-mile Talladega venue. “We can’t mess around really at any point of the race because we need all the stage points we can get to take into the playoffs later in the year. We will race hard from start to finish.
“But, today, it was all about ice cream and having fun with the kids and the media. And, why not since Talladega is such a cool track where so many have an incredible time. I learned today that making waffle cones is a delicate process where you have to be focused. With one mistake – just like on a race track like Talladega – you can mess up in a hurry. It was really cool to make some, and to top it off, I feel I did a pretty good job because it was tasty.”
Reddick, a California native who sits second in the title standings behind teammate Elliott Sadler, spoke to the class of Mrs. Bernice Moran, who was named this week as 104.7 WZZK’s “Terrific Teacher” in the Birmingham area. He read the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to the students before having a Breyers ice cream party. After the stop at Big Spoon Creamery, Reddick, who is very fond of animals, stopped by the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. He also took photographs with the iconic Sparks Energy 300 “Hammer & Anvil” trophy at various locations throughout the Birmingham area. The trophy pays homage to the Vulcan statue that oversees Birmingham in addition to featuring a lineman that represents Sparks Energy Inc. The iron trophy is created locally by Sloss Metal Arts (Sloss Furnaces).
In order to claim that trophy, he will have to do something at Talladega that he hasn’t been able to accomplish yet, and that is to win. In addition to his 20th place finish in last year’s Sparks Energy 300, he has three starts at the mammoth venue in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with two top-five finishes in 2014 and 2015. He has the chance to become the sixth driver to open the season with a win at Daytona and then take the checkered flag at Talladega.
“Talladega is a really cool race track. It has so much tradition with so many champion winners,” said Reddick, who hopes to join Elliott Sadler and Regan Smith as victors piloting cars for JR Motorsports (owned by six-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr.). “Our hope is we can steal a win when we come back. It will be chaotic but fun, plus I hope that we are in contention for the NASCAR Xfinity Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus. There will be a lot on the line in more ways than one.”
The Sparks Energy 300 is scheduled for a 2 p.m. CDT start on Saturday, April 28. Aric Almirola is the defending champion. The day will also include time trials for the Sparks Energy 300 as well as Fr8Auctions Qualifying for the GEICO 500, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, set for Sunday, April 29.
Visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 855-518-RACE (7223) for all ticket information to experience the highly-anticipated tripleheader weekend, which also features the General Tire 200 for the ARCA Racing Series on Friday, April 27.