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Reddick Establishing Himself As A Threat

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It was not the win he wanted, but Tyler Reddick’s second-place finish in Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 may prove huge when looking at the championship picture.

The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet now sits second in the points standings with a 20-point cushion over the cutoff, meaning a solid race at ISM Raceway could very easily secure him a spot in the Championship 4.

This may come as a surprise to a lot of people as Reddick wasn’t viewed by many as a contender entering the playoffs and, understandably so.

After winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, expectations were high for the 22-year-old; but after an average regular season which included nine finishes outside the top-20, he fell off the radar while his teammates, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier, were among the best.

Even in the opening round of the playoffs Reddick wasn’t necessarily lighting the world on fire, with finishes of seventh, ninth, and 14th.

Even in the opening round of the playoffs Reddick wasn’t necessarily lighting the world on fire, with finishes of seventh, ninth, and 14th.

The last two races though have provided a completely different story than what’s been told all year. At Kansas Speedway, he qualified well (sixth), avoided the early chaos, and finished fifth. This weekend, he again started up front (fourth), and continued to show improvement by remaining in the top-10  for the majority of the race and leading the most laps, something he hasn’t done all season long.

Not only has Reddick found momentum at the right time, but he has also done so where others haven’t. To put it in perspective, he is the only one of the eight remaining playoff drivers to have back-to-back top-fives. Drivers like Allgaier and Christopher Bell, who entered the final seven races as favorites to capture the title, are now on the outside searching in, desperately looking for success the No. 9 team has had.

So that begs the question, is too soon to be saying Reddick is a championship threat? No.

After all, this is not your usual underdog situation. Reddick drives for JR Motorsports, meaning he has some of the best equipment at his arsenal. The fact he is showing the knowledge to use it properly should scare other teams. The recent improvement shown has more than legitimized him, and if it continues, there is no reason to he couldn’t win the title.

Reddick, who announced earlier this week he would be moving to Richard Childress Racing in 2019, may see the most significant two weeks of his young career in his final moments with Dale Earnhardt Jr‘s team.


TWITTER: @MitchellB66

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Mitchell Breuer

Mitchell Breuer, is a 22-year-old Minnesota native who is currently attending Winona State University to obtain a degree in Mass Communications-Journalism. In addition to POPULAR SPEED, Mitchell is currently the sports editor at WSU's student paper, The Winonan.