By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Tyler Reddick may be departing JR Motorsports over the offseason, but he certainly will be leaving them a hell of a parting gift after scoring the win in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to take home the NASCAR Xfinity Series title.
The championship marks the third title for JR Motorsports in the last five years, following William Byron’s championship last season and Chase Elliott’s title in 2014.
After starting fourth, Reddick finished the first stage in third and the second stage in eighth, but when nighttime fell over South Florida, the Corning, California native took it to a different level.
Following the final set of green flag pit stops, Reddick cycled out to second place behind Christopher Bell, electing to run right up against the wall and though he bounced off it a few times, he picked up a ton of speed in the process.
A thrilling battle with Bell for the race lead ensued and he was able to dispatch him with 37 laps to go. From that point on Reddick was nearly unstoppable over the closing laps of the race, pulling out to a 6.902 second margin of victory by the time the checkered flag flew.
“The year wasn’t the smoothest for us, but I knew coming in here if we just made it to Homestead, this is a great track for me, it rewards my aggression” Reddick said. “Tonight, we hit the wall a lot, but the car kept in one piece long enough for me to get to the end.”
Reddick started the season off with a bang at Daytona, taking his first win with JRM in the closest finish in NASCAR history, and even though they had their ups and downs through the year, when the Playoffs began, the No. 9 team was on top of their game.
Only once throughout their Playoff run did Reddick or his team finish outside the top-10 and though they were considered the underdog among the four championship contenders, Reddick noted that he knew if they could make it to Homestead, he could get the job done.
“These guys worked so hard all year on the BurgerFi Chevrolet,” Reddick added. “We had to overcome a lot. This year was all about learning. It was an up and down year and with everything we had to do, we had to do it in the Playoffs and it rewarded us with a championship. We can hang our hat on that. I know people will say we weren’t consistent, but we got it done when it counted most.
“This is just a great moment. This isn’t going to be the year the best car all year won. We had to fight really, really hard. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of growing pains, but my guys just never gave up on me, this whole No. 9 group.
“We dug down deep when it mattered most and when the Playoffs came around, we dug down and got it done. We had to run well and we were consistent and got to Homestead. I knew if we got here, we had a good shot at getting this championship done.”
With a championship in his pocket, Reddick will now move on to Richard Childress Racing next season, taking over the No. 21 car being vacated by Daniel Hemric as he moves up to the Cup Series.
“I told him before the race tonight, I said, man, these race cars are getting way better, so enjoy and you’re going to reap the benefits of it,” Hemric said of Reddick moving to RCR.
“I’d look for him to do something very similar next year.”