Reddick captures 3rd victory, wins at Texas

The weather-delayed race was the fourth straight to be won by a driver eliminated from the postseason

Tyler Reddick burns his tires after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. (Larry Papke / AP Photo)

FORT WORTH, Texas — Tyler Reddick opened the round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with a victory at Texas on Sunday, winning a week after being one of the first four Cup drivers knocked out of title contention.

After none of the contenders won the first three races of the playoffs — a first in any round in this postseason format — the trend continued with the eliminated Reddick leading 53 of the final 54 laps on a long race day that went into the night.

Reddick finished 1.19 seconds ahead of Joey Logano at the end of an extended race that had a track-record 17 cautions, a record 36 lead changes, a 56-minute red flag for lightning and multiple tire issues leading to crashes — including playoff contenders Chase Elliott, the points leader going into the second round, and Christopher Bell.

“I was extremely worried, I’m not going to lie,” Reddick said. “Unfortunately, just about every time we’ve had fast cars, we’ve had some tire problems. That last run, the right sides were vibrating really, really hard there. … I was just trying to maximize and use the gap that I built over (Logano) just in case.”

Logano took over the points lead, by 12 over Ross Chastain.

Elliott, who entered the round of 12 as the points leader, had a fiery finish after contact with the outside wall in Turn 4 when leading just past the halfway mark of the race.

Flames were already visible from under the right side of the No. 9 Chevrolet when he got onto the frontstretch then turned across and came to a stop in the middle of the infield, where Elliott climbed out uninjured as the car was being engulfed by flames. He finished 32nd.

“I’m not sure that Goodyear is at fault,” Elliott said. “Goodyear always takes the black eye, but they’re put in a really tough position by NASCAR to build a tire that can survive these types of racetracks with this car. I wouldn’t blame Goodyear.”

Goodyear and NASCAR officials said there were several teams that didn’t have tire issues, and the reports from those teams indicated that they were conservative with the air pressure they used in their tires.

Bell, the Oklahoma native who considers Texas his home track, couldn’t recover from a second tire issue that led to his race-ending crash after finishing only 136 laps. He was the only driver to finish in the top five in all three races in the first round of this postseason, but he was 34th at Texas.

Contenders Ryan Blaney and Chase Briscoe finished fourth and fifth. The other finishers still eligible for the title were William Byron (seventh), Kyle Larson (ninth), Denny Hamlin (10th), Daniel Suarez (12th), Chastain (13th), rookie Austin Cindric (15th) and Alex Bowman (29th).

The middle race of the second round of the playoffs is Sunday at Talladega, where Chastain got his second win of the season in April. He hasn’t won since but has finished seventh or better in the last three playoff races.