By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion Tyler Reddick locked himself into the 61st running of the Daytona 500 after placing 16th on the speed charts.
His No. 31 Symbicort Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 joins Casey Mears’ No. 27 Germain Racing Chevrolet as the two Open teams to lock into ‘The Great American Race’ via qualifying on Sunday.
Reddick, who is in a third Richard Childress Racing car, is one of six cars without a charter that had to either qualify on time or race their way through the Gander RV Duel races. Fortunately for the 23-year-old, he will not have to worry about beating the other open cars in the Duel races as his 190.836 mph, 47.161 second lap time was the fastest among the Open teams. Mears was the second fastest Open car in 26th.
The Daytona 500 will also mark Reddick’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut. In doing so, he becomes the third consecutive Xfinity Series Champion, following in Daniel Suarez and William Byron’s footsteps, to make their Cup debut in the Daytona 500 the following season.
In addition to competing in the Daytona 500, Reddick will also attempt to defend his victory in the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, moving to RCR after winning the championship with JR Motorsports last season.
Although Reddick’s qualifying time place him 16th on the speed charts, Thursday night’s Duel races will ultimately determine his starting position. He will start ninths in the first of the two Duel races.
Reddick Tweeted his excitement after being locked into the Daytona 500.
— Tyler Reddick (@TylerReddick) February 10, 2019