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Tyler Reddick takes checkered in wild Talladega finish for Michael Jordan’s first win while in attendance

April 21, 2024

 

By Holly Cain

NASCAR Wire Service

 

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Tyler Reddick prevailed in a typically-frantic Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway run to the checkered flag Sunday in the GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race, narrowly avoiding a multi-car crash in the closing 400 yards – coming from third place out of Turn 4, to earn the win by a slight 0.208-second when race leader Michael McDowell crashed trying to block competitors approaching the finish line; McDowell’s move slowing the bottom line and allowing Reddick in the high lane to motor through to his first victory of the year and sixth of his career.

 

So pumped to claim this win, the 28-year old Californian climbed the grandstand fence, pumping his fist to the screaming, adoring crowd while one of his 23XI Racing team owners, NBA legend Michael Jordan celebrated on pit lane, taking Reddick’s young son Beau in his arms and grinning from ear-to-ear. This was the first time Jordan had been at track when his team won a race.

 

“Man, it’s incredible,’’ said Reddick, who led 13 laps on the afternoon. “Everyone on this 45 Toyota Camry worked really hard today. Didn’t really work out in that third stage for us, but we were able to fight and defend our track position.

 

“Was that crazy guys?’’ he yelled toward the cheering grandstands. “A lot of chaos. That’s Talladega for you.’’

 

“I just have to give a lot of credit to Ty Gibbs and Martin Truex, it was just us Toyotas left and they pushed me with everything they had. Without Martin and Ty and those pushes we don’t win this race.’’

 

The final few laps pitted a low line of Fords – the manufacturer trying to earn its first win of 2024 – and a high line led by the Toyotas. McDowell, the 2021 Daytona 500 winner anticipated a huge run from the cars behind, but conceded later that he was just a little late making the block.

 

The contact when he pulled down to Roush Fenway Keselowski driver Brad Keselowski sent McDowell’s car off track. Keselowski was still able to recover and finish second – his second straight runner-up finish this season. Afterward, McDowell apologized to Keselowski for essentially costing the former series champion a win with the move.

 

“We did a good job keeping those Mustang Dark Horses up front,’’ said McDowell, who led a race best 36 laps. “He [Keselowski] did everything right. He pushed me. I was able to get in front of him the first time but when I came back down I barely wasn’t clear. I’ll have to watch the replay. I hate it. I hate it we didn’t make it to the finish line. We had such a fast mustang today. … just came up short and took a lot of guys out and I apologize.’’

 

The race ending was in stark contrast to the early portion of the event. For the first time since NASCAR instituted “stage racing” in 2017 there were no caution periods through the opening two stages (other than the scheduled stage breaks).

 

McDowell won the pole position and as promised all weekend, was set to race strategically not forcing his No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford to the front all day but instead when it needed to be there. There was a lot of hope that Ford would secure its first win of the year Sunday and two of the Mustangs – driven by Austin Cindric (Stage 1) and Joey Logano (Stage 2) – swept the stage victories early in the race.

 

But as is so often the case, a late race restart – with 27 laps remaining – set the tone for the finish with McDowell leading the bottom line and Fords stacked up behind him. Reddick led the high line with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. behind him. McDowell and Reddick exchanged the lead 10 times in that final 27-lap stretch to the trophy – indicative of a day when there were 23 race leaders and 73 lead changes, including New Zealander Shane Van Gisbergen’s first NASCAR Cup Series laps out front on an oval (three laps).

 

It was an exhaustive and exhilarating afternoon depending on what side of the finishing order you came out on. All the drivers – including several collected in the multi-car race ending crash – confirmed they were okay.

 

“Well, [team co-owner] Denny [Hamlin] keeps saying I’m bad luck,’’ Jordan said, ”And today we proved him wrong.

 

“The whole team did a good job,’’ he continued. “I’m very happy to be here to see it. Everybody always tells me when we win we have a good celebration but this is the first time I’ve been here [for a win].

 

“As you know this is NBA playoffs right now and to me, this is like an NBA playoff game, I am so ecstatic for the fans who support the sport itself. You know we’ve been working hard trying to get ourselves to compete against all the top guys in this sport. And we’ve done a heckuva job just to be where we are and for us to win and win a big race like this it means so much to me and effort the team has put in.

 

“I’m all in. It replaces a lot of competitiveness I had in basketball, but this is even worse because I have no control. If I was playing basketball, I’d have total control, but I have no control and live vicariously through the drivers and crew chiefs. I’m very happy for 23 eleven – 110 percent.’’

 

Hamlin, who finished 37th after being collected in a crash, smiled upon hearing Jordan’s elation and Beau Reddicks’ cool celebration with the legend.

 

“Beau has no idea of the significance of that moment,” Hamlin said.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Noah Gragson finished a career best third, followed by JTG Daugherty’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman.

 

Anthony Alfredo, who led four laps, finished a career best sixth place for Beard Motorsports. Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron was seventh, followed by Front Row Motorsports’ Todd Gilliland, Spire Motorsports’ Justin Haley and the Wood Brothers’ Harrison Burton.

 

Despite a 20th place finish Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson leads the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings by 16 points over Truex, who was 11th Sunday.

 

The NASCAR Cup Series moves to Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway for next Sunday’s Wurth 400 (2 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Truex is the defending race winner.

 

NASCAR Cup Series Race – GEICO 500

Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega, Alabama

Sunday, April 21, 2024

 

1. (18)  Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 188.

2. (22)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 188.

3. (36)  Noah Gragson, Ford, 188.

4. (33)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 188.

5. (12)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 188.

6. (24)  Anthony Alfredo(i), Chevrolet, 188.

7. (13)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 188.

8. (3)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, 188.

9. (19)  Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 188.

10. (16)  Harrison Burton, Ford, 188.

11. (6)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 188.

12. (26)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 188.

13. (32)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 188.

14. (11)  Ryan Preece, Ford, 188.

15. (9)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 188.

16. (29)  Josh Berry #, Ford, 188.

17. (35)  Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 188.

18. (31)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 188.

19. (7)  Joey Logano, Ford, 188.

20. (21)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 188.

21. (38)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 188.

22. (15)  Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 188.

23. (2)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 188.

24. (34)  Cody Ware, Ford, 188.

25. (8)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 188.

26. (4)  Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 188.

27. (25)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 188.

28. (17)  Shane Van Gisbergen(i), Chevrolet, 188.

29. (30)  Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, 188.

30. (5)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 188.

31. (1)  Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 187.

32. (37)  BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 187.

33. (20)  John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 184.

34. (27)  Justin Haley, Ford, 184.

35. (28)  Erik Jones, Toyota, Accident, 154.

36. (14)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, Accident, 154.

37. (23)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Accident, 154.

38. (10)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, Accident, 132.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  155.977 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 13 Mins, 29 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.208 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 21 laps.

Lead Changes:  72 among 23 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   M. McDowell 1;A. Cindric 2;M. McDowell 3-4;A. Cindric 5;M. Truex Jr. 6;D. Hemric 7-9;*. McLeod(i) 10;D. Hemric 11-14;C. Briscoe 15-16;J. Haley 17-18;M. Truex Jr. 19-21;J. Haley 22-23;M. Truex Jr. 24-31;*. McLeod(i) 32-33;M. Truex Jr. 34-35;*. McLeod(i) 36;M. Truex Jr. 37-38;*. McLeod(i) 39;C. Briscoe 40;N. Gragson 41;C. Elliott 42-43;S. Van Gisbergen(i) 44;B. Keselowski 45;C. Elliott 46-47;A. Cindric 48-51;C. Elliott 52;A. Cindric 53-62;B. Keselowski 63;K. Busch 64-66;R. Blaney 67;K. Busch 68;S. Van Gisbergen(i) 69;*. Alfredo(i) 70;N. Gragson 71;J. Nemechek 72-78;N. Gragson 79;J. Nemechek 80;*. Alfredo(i) 81;J. Nemechek 82-93;D. Hamlin 94;C. Buescher 95;N. Gragson 96;C. Buescher 97;S. Van Gisbergen(i) 98;C. Buescher 99-101;J. Logano 102-105;D. Hamlin 106;J. Logano 107-108;D. Hamlin 109-110;J. Logano 111-113;C. Buescher 114;J. Logano 115-122;T. Gibbs 123;J. Logano 124-126;R. Chastain 127-128;J. Logano 129-130;R. Chastain 131;N. Gragson 132;R. Chastain 133-135;*. Alfredo(i) 136-137;J. Berry # 138-140;D. Hemric 141;M. McDowell 142-157;C. Hocevar # 158;T. Reddick 159-162;M. McDowell 163-170;T. Reddick 171;M. McDowell 172-174;T. Reddick 175;M. McDowell 176-177;T. Reddick 178;M. McDowell 179-182;T. Reddick 183-188.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Michael McDowell 7 times for 36 laps; Joey Logano 6 times for 22 laps; John Hunter Nemechek 3 times for 20 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 5 times for 16 laps; Austin Cindric 4 times for 16 laps; Tyler Reddick 5 times for 13 laps; Daniel Hemric 3 times for 8 laps; Ross Chastain 3 times for 6 laps; Chris Buescher 4 times for 6 laps; * BJ McLeod(i) 4 times for 5 laps; Chase Elliott 3 times for 5 laps; Noah Gragson 5 times for 5 laps; Denny Hamlin 3 times for 4 laps; Justin Haley 2 times for 4 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 4 laps; * Anthony Alfredo(i) 3 times for 4 laps; Josh Berry # 1 time for 3 laps; Chase Briscoe 2 times for 3 laps; Shane Van Gisbergen(i) 3 times for 3 laps; Brad Keselowski 2 times for 2 laps; Carson Hocevar # 1 time for 1 lap; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 1 lap; Ty Gibbs 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,9,24,12,8,21,20,6,45,48

Stage #2 Top Ten: 22,2,5,3,1,45,17,9,41,54

 

About Talladega Superspeedway       
Talladega Superspeedway is the most competitive racetrack on the NASCAR schedule (record 88 lead changes in 188 laps), the highest-banked (33 degrees) and the longest (2.66 miles), as well as the most fun and fan-friendly. Three-and four-wide racing at 200 mph are a norm at Talladega Superspeedway, along with nail-biting, photo finishes. For information, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.      

       

About NASCAR     

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 14 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR sanctions races in three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series™), four international series (NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race, NASCAR Canada Series, NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and a local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in five cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races annually in 11 countries and more than 30 U.S. states. 

  

For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, X and Snapchat.