By David Morgan, Associate Editor
CONCORD, N.C. – Tyler Reddick will start Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as he looks to race his way into the next round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Entering the weekend nine points below the cut-off to advance, the driver of the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota showed off his road course prowess on Saturday by putting up the second-fastest time in practice and going one better in qualifying with a lap of one minute, 21.214 seconds at 102.839 mph to score the pole.
Saturday’s fast lap marks the third pole of the season for Reddick, with previous poles coming at Circuit of the Americas in Austin and last month at Kansas Speedway.
“I think for the most part this is a good as outcome for the 45 as possible,” Reddick said. “And Bubba had a solid day as well. I know he obviously wanted to qualify a little better in the second round, but when you look at what both of us need to do tomorrow to hopefully get both of our cars in, we’re taking the right steps in that direction.”
Reddick added that starting from the pole will help focus in his team’s game plan for Sunday as they look to make the jump into the Top 8 in points to advance to the next round.
“For me, you know, no matter how the race plays out, it’s pretty simple for me. I just go out there and try and nail every corner, nail every lap, and if I have a mistake, minimize the time loss. I think that’s really all I gotta focus on, right?
“You know, those are the things that Billy, my team, the other teams they’re gonna be working on, no matter what strategy we go with, right? My job doesn’t change, so why even worry about it? I’m just gonna go out there and do laps and try to keep the tires on it. You know, try to stay outta trouble. It’s pretty straightforward for me, honestly.
Christopher Bell, who won this race a year ago in a walk-off to punch his ticket into the next round, will start second, followed by Daniel Suarez in third, Bubba Wallace in fourth, and Kyle Busch in fifth.
Denny Hamlin was the only other Playoff driver to make it into the final round of qualifying, but was unable to put in a timed lap as he spun out in the backstretch chicane, sending his car partially airborne as he slid out of control over the rumble strips. Hamlin will start ninth on Sunday.
The remainder of the Playoff drivers not yet locked in will be scattered throughout the field at the start, with Martin Truex Jr. and Ross Chastain starting 11th and 12th, respectively and RFK Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher will start in 19th and 20th, respectively.
Kyle Larson will have his work cut out for him on Sunday as he starts shotgun on the field following a crash in practice that has relegated him to a back-up car.
The 2021 Cup Series champion comes into Charlotte with just a 15-point advantage over the cut-off line, but he’ll have to work his way forward at the start if he hopes to stay alive in the title fight.
Larson won this race in 2021, but in his three other starts at the track has finished 13th, 25th, and 35th.
|1||45||Tyler Reddick (P)||Jordan Brand Toyota||81.214||102.839|
|2||20||Christopher Bell (P)||DEWALT Plumbing Solutions Toyota||81.328||102.695|
|3||99||Daniel Suarez||Aguas Frescas Chevrolet||81.401||102.603|
|4||23||Bubba Wallace (P)||Leidos Toyota||81.428||102.569|
|5||8||Kyle Busch (P)||Lenovo Chevrolet||81.488||102.494|
|6||16||AJ Allmendinger||Celsius Chevrolet||81.600||102.353|
|7||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil Ford||81.720||102.203|
|8||9||Chase Elliott (P)||NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet||81.722||102.200|
|9||11||Denny Hamlin (P)||Mavis Tires & Brakes Toyota||0.000||0.000|
|10||54||Ty Gibbs #||Interstate Batteries All Battery Center Toyota||0.000||0.000|
|11||19||Martin Truex Jr. (P)||Bass Pro Shops Toyota||81.178||102.885|
|12||1||Ross Chastain (P)||Worldwide Express Chevrolet||81.221||102.831|
|13||34||Michael McDowell||Love’s Travel Stops Ford||81.399||102.606|
|14||24||William Byron (P)||HP Chevrolet||81.608||102.343|
|15||3||Austin Dillon||Huk Performance Fishing Chevrolet||81.611||102.339|
|16||48||Alex Bowman||Ally Chevrolet||81.632||102.313|
|17||12||Ryan Blaney (P)||Discount Tire Ford||81.659||102.279|
|18||41||Ryan Preece||Autodesk/HaasTooling.com Ford||81.702||102.225|
|19||6||Brad Keselowski (P)||Castrol Edge Ford||81.707||102.219|
|20||17||Chris Buescher (P)||Fifth Third Bank Ford||81.790||102.115|
|21||10||Aric Almirola||IHOP Ford||81.800||102.103|
|22||4||Kevin Harvick||Rheem – Chasing a Cure Ford||81.801||102.101|
|23||43||Erik Jones||Allegiant Chevrolet||81.970||101.891|
|24||7||Corey LaJoie||Gainbridge Chevrolet||82.003||101.850|
|25||31||Justin Haley||LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet||82.024||101.824|
|26||42||Mike Rockenfeller||Sunseeker Resorts Chevrolet||82.036||101.809|
|27||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Harris Teeter/Totino’s Chevrolet||82.048||101.794|
|28||78||Josh Bilicki(i)||Zeigler Auto Group Chevrolet||82.086||101.747|
|29||2||Austin Cindric||Menards/Cardell Cabinetry Ford||82.103||101.726|
|30||14||Chase Briscoe||Ford Performance Racing School Ford||82.156||101.660|
|31||21||Harrison Burton||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford||82.184||101.626|
|32||51||Todd Gilliland||Ruedebusch Development & Construction||82.357||101.412|
|33||62||Austin Hill(i)||United Rentals/Beard Oil Chevrolet||82.529||101.201|
|34||38||Zane Smith(i)||Ambetter Health Ford||82.578||101.141|
|35||15||Andy Lally(i)||Camping World Ford||82.859||100.798|
|36||5||Kyle Larson (P)||Valvoline/HendrickCars.com Chevrolet||0.000||0.000|
|37||77||Ty Dillon||Bon Secours Chevrolet||0.000||0.000|