By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
DARLINGTON, S.C. – NASCAR Xfinity Series ‘Big Three’ member Tyler Reddick has learned from last year’s Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 in time for a milestone start.
Reddick will honor Kyle Petty during NASCAR’s Throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway and his 75th Xfinity Series start. The Richard Childress Racing driver’s No. 2 myblu Chevrolet Camaro SS throws back to Petty’s No. 7 7-Eleven from the mid-1980s.
The unforgiving nature of ‘The Track Too Tough to Tame’ revealed itself to Reddick last season. The then JR Motorsports driver earned a ‘Darlington Stripe’ early in the opening practice session. He then repeated that in the race itself, wearing out his equipment early. That was Reddick’s only Darlington start to date; he finished third.
“I had a really fast car last year at Darlington, but I think I could have done a better job of taking care of it throughout the race,” Reddick admitted. “That’s something I’ll be focusing on this year that I think could help us grab a better finish, or potentially even win the race.
“Coming into Darlington last season, I was really dialed in and knew exactly what I wanted out of my car there to get around the track, so I think going in with the same mentality this year with this team will be a good starting point.”
Like last season, Reddick has shown speed throughout the entire season. Unlike last year, the defending Xfinity Series Champion has applied the lessons from his experience to improve his running position. Reddick has doubled his win total from last season in just the first 23 races.
Reddick already plans to apply the lessons he learned from last for Saturday’s race.
“Last year, I got a little too aggressive in Turn 4 early on in the race and knocked the quarter panel over and our spoiler back, so I know what not to do right away this time and to be a little more patient. The lessons I learned there over the past two years have given me a lot of confidence heading there this year with the momentum the No. 2 team has going on right now.”
Entering Darlington, Reddick leads the championship points standings, 45-points ahead of fellow ‘Big Three’ member Christopher Bell. However, he is 20-playoff points behind Bell and eight behind third ‘Big Three’ member, Cole Custer.
With three races remaining before the playoffs, including Darlington, Reddick’s point lead could result in the regular season championship and 15 additional playoff points.