By David Morgan, Associate Editor
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – When Tyler Reddick gets in the zone riding the high line at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he seems almost unstoppable.
For a second straight year, the 23-year old ran inches from the wall in the closing laps of the Ford EcoBoost 300 to take the lead from Cole Custer with 19 laps to go and set sail en route to his second straight NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
While the other championship contenders found themselves getting into the wall trying to match Reddick’s pace, the Richard Childress Racing driver remained rock solid, eventually crossing the line 1.038 seconds ahead of Custer to take home the hardware.
Christopher Bell finished fifth to end the season third in the standings, while Justin Allgaier crossed the line in 14th, a lap down after getting into the wall and cutting a tire down.
“It’s about this race team, man, and I was just honored to pilot this Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet,” said Reddick. “This Tame the Best Chevrolet was just so, so fast, it was as fast as Xfinity internet tonight. Hats off to team Chevy, all those guys for working on this new Chevrolet and all the guys at ECR for giving us great power.
“I’m losing my breath, I’m that excited. This one means so much more. It was just a lot better year, and it was really cool to go back-to-back.”
Reddick joins a number of other drivers with multiple titles, including Sam Ard, Jack Ingram, Larry Pearson, Randy LaJoie, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Martin Truex, Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. However, Reddick stands alone above the others in one statistic – he is the only driver to win back-to-back championships with two different teams.
It was almost déjà vu for Reddick as he used the same strategy to win the title for JR Motorsports last season before moving to Richard Childress Racing over the offseason. Once in RCR equipment, with crew chief Randall Burnett atop the pit box, the Corning, Calif. native picked right up where he left off and made it known he was going to be a threat for the title once again.
Reddick ends the season with six wins, 24 top-five finishes, 27 top-10 finishes, and four poles in 33 starts
“The first one was special, but this one means more and it’s special in different ways on top of it, from the moment me and Richard sat down last year talking about doing something this current year and how much excitement and faith he had in my driving ability, and he thought we could — well before I won the championship with JR Motorsports, he thought I could be a champion,” Reddick said.
“Did it last year at JR Motorsports, but this year we did it more consistently, had the most top 5s. Maybe not led the most laps, but we tooth and clawed our way for every top 5, every top 10, and that got us a regular season championship, and that allowed us to go through the playoffs in a manner that allowed us to get here even when we made a few mistakes along the way.
“Hats off to this team. I wrecked a few really good race cars that we were planning on bringing here, and we brought our third option, and it was amazing. It was a great car, great team, and we just did what we needed to do to win the championship and the race with it.”
Now with two Xfinity titles in his back pocket, Reddick moves to the Cup Series next season, taking over the No. 8 Chevrolet in the RCR stable. Custer and Christopher Bell will join him in NASCAR’s top division in 2020.