Tyler Reddick talks about disappointment at COTA, racing at Richmond

PHOTO: Carol D'Agostino for SkirtsandScuffs.com

On Friday afternoon, prior to taking a lap at Richmond Raceway with the new Next Gen car, I got the chance to talk with the driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, Tyler Reddick. We discussed the overtime near-win at COTA, how he processes disappointments, and what he anticipates today at Richmond Raceway.

Last weekend your first Cup Series win was in sight as you went into Turn 1 on the last lap, but it wasn’t to be. How long did you take you to shake it off?
Tyler: Most of the time by Monday morning I’m over it. Admittedly this week I held onto to it a little too long. Being that close is a good thing though. We had COTA circled on our calendar and had a lot of eggs in the COTA basket. But with our schedule, you really don’t have a lot of time to sit and let it affect you. You got to take what happened and turn it into a lesson, and then grow from it. You want to do everything you can to avoid making those same mistakes and get ready for the next weekend whatever type of racetrack it ends up being.

How do you typically deal with disappointing finishes?
Tyler: There’s a lot of positives to it, honestly. The little setbacks that we’ve had aren’t things you have to start from scratch to avoid. The good has been outweighing the bad. We do have a couple more things to get where we want them to be, but considering where this team was three years ago, where the organization was, and the rate they are wanting to improve and how much we’ve improved, there’s a lot more positives.

Richmond Raceway has had five first-time Cup Series winners. Considering how well you’ve been performing could you be number six?
Tyler: I never want to rule that out, but I know how challenging it is here. When I first made my first couple starts in an Xfinity car, I was really terrible here. I didn’t really even understand what the approach should be or what I should be searching for in my car. This track is all about finesse. It’s discipline. It’s repetition.

You’ve got to get in a rhythm and I didn’t understand any of that, so I was very bad here. There have been good times though, and it almost doesn’t make any sense that we’ve been really good here. And then there have been times where we bring back a fairly similar approach, and do a lot of the same things, and then we’re terrible.

Mentally it can get very frustrating very quickly here. It’s a race that takes a total team effort. You got to be good on pit road. Mistakes will cost the best of cars and the best of teams when we’ve come here, and I’ve seen a lot of good cars that should have won the race, not win the race because of just a couple mistakes along the way. Last year’s spring race we saw a late- race caution, and a short-run car was able to race up there and steal it. You never know when you’re out of it.

There are a lot of drivers still running in the Cup Series that have this place figured out. Guys like Harvick, even though he may not have all the wins to show it, have been very consistent here. He’s always finding ways to get Top 10s on not good days and Top 5s on average days. The Gibbs drivers, Kyle, Martin, and Denny...they’ve all had a really good understanding of this place for a while. Joey Logano, and even Brad although he’s with a new team now. A lot of veterans of this sport have Richmond figured out.I don’t know quick it took them to figure it out.

What do you expect with the Next Gen car here at Richmond?
Tyler: This race can be physically stressful, but it’s more of mental race since you race the racetrack. If you get too caught up and race your competitors you can put yourself behind, and can make mistakes. And you can hurt your tires. This place has had long runs in the past, but you have to stay in it all day long because if you have a short run car, and then there’s a caution with 10 to 15 laps to go or 25 laps to go you’re still in the mix. But again that was all with the last car.

But with the tires that we have, this new car still does have tire falloff. This car still has these certain characteristics and things that would lead me to believe that it’s still going to still be Richmond in that aspect, you’re going to have to race the track. It’s about getting 95% out of your race car every single lap. When you get past that, or if you get too caught up and race your competitors too much, you can put yourself behind.

Richmond is a short track, but it’s big enough to where that it races like an intermediate track. Your aerodynamics are important. Track position is important. But it’s a short track in the nature of taking care of the tires. If you have a good understanding of this place it can help you a lot. Even where I am at, I think I understand what you need to do at this track, but I’m 10 to 15 years behind the veterans that have the same understanding plus all those laps and all those other experiences under their belt too.

Tyler Reddick is currently 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver’s standing, eight points behind Chase Briscoe and four points ahead of Kyle Busch. This season, Reddick has earned two Top 5s, three Top 10s and two DNFs. He starts the Toyota Owners 400 16th on the grid. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 
PHOTO: Carol D'Agostino for SkirtsandScuffs.com


Tyler Reddick talks about disappointment at COTA, racing at Richmond Tyler Reddick talks about disappointment at COTA, racing at Richmond Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Sunday, April 03, 2022 Rating: 5