By David Morgan, Associate Editor
As the laps wound down in Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol, Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe were battling it out to see which of them would be taking home the win.
By the time the checkered flag fell, neither of them would end the night in Victory Lane.
Reddick and Briscoe combined to lead 158 of the 250 laps on the night, with Reddick leading a race-high 99 laps – almost the entirety of the final stage of the race.
With Reddick’s No. 8 Chevrolet out front and the Richard Childress Racing driver in the catbird seat to score his first NASCAR Cup Series win, Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford grew ever larger in his rear-view mirror the closer they got to the finish.
Entering Turn 3 and 4 on the final lap, Briscoe saw his chance to try and steal the win away from Reddick.
Reddick entered Turn 3 on the high side, with Briscoe diving low in an effort to pull alongside Reddick. However, the move didn’t work out as planned for either driver.
Almost as soon as Briscoe got alongside Reddick, his car was already sideways and heading back up the track toward Reddick’s car. Making contact with the left rear quarter panel of Reddick’s car, both drivers spun out and found themselves at the entrance to pit road.
Reddick was able to keep going after the spin, but the momentum lost was not enough to carry him to the finish line first, as Kyle Busch, who was lying in wait back in third place, was able to pass Reddick in the last few feet to steal the win by 0.330 seconds.
“I don’t think I did everything right, to be honest with you,” Reddick said. “Briscoe was able to run me back down there. Just looking at it, I should have done a little bit better job of just – I don’t know. I shouldn’t have let him get that close. He ran me back down. Worked really hard to do that.
“I mean, you’re racing on dirt, going for the move on the final corner. It’s everything that as a driver you hope to battle for in this situation. Made it really exciting for the fans, so…
“It does suck, but we were able to finish second still. I’m being honest. I should have done a better job and pulled away so he wasn’t in range to try to make that move. That’s how I look at it.”
To his credit, Briscoe made it a point to apologize to Reddick, with the two drivers shaking hands afterwards.
“He got it,” Briscoe said of their conversation. “Obviously, Tyler and me have raced enough with each other. Both of us know we’re not gonna wreck each other or do something stupid on purpose, and that was just a racing deal.
“We were both going for a win. Both of us dirt guys. There’s a lot of pride in being the guy that wins the dirt race and it’s unfortunate. I hate that neither of us won, but I think Tyler understood and he was really cool about it and said he would have tried the exact same thing. He said it was his fault for letting me even get there in the first place.”
Both drivers will now turn their attention to next weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, with the GEICO 500 scheduled for 3:00 pm ET on FOX.