Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images via NASCAR

Tyler Reddick Tops NASCAR Cup Series Practice in Austin

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

AUSTIN, Texas – A constant threat on the road courses, Tyler Reddick was back to form Friday at Circuit of the Americas, topping the lone NASCAR Cup Series practice of the weekend ahead of Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix.

Winner of two road course races last year, the driver of the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota hasn’t missed a beat with his new team, jumping to the top of the board early on with teammate Bubba Wallace following closely behind.

Though a number of other drivers surpassed Reddick’s original fast time, he was back on top in the late stages of the 50-minute session with a lap of two minutes, 12.016 seconds at 92.989 mph.

Kyle Larson was second fastest when the checkered flag waved on practice, followed by defending race winner Ross Chastain in third. Kyle Busch was fourth and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five fastest drivers.

Michael McDowell and Austin Cindric timed in sixth and seventh fastest, with Wallace falling to eighth and defending series champion Joey Logano bringing in the ninth-fastest time.

Road course ace and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship regular Jordan Taylor was the best of the road course specialists entered this weekend as he rounded out the top-10.

Driving the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in relief of the injured Chase Elliott, Taylor was as high as fourth early in the session and fell to 20th in the running order before the team bolted on a set of new tires late to allow him to climb back to 10th.

The remainder of the road course ringers didn’t have quite the same success as Taylor in practice as they timed in from 25th on back.

Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen, the two former Formula 1 world champions, ended practice in 25th and 32nd, respectively, and will have some work to do before qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

Seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson ended practice in 36th in his first laps around the COTA circuit, with NTT IndyCar Series regular Conor Daly bringing up the tail end of the field in 39th.

Next up for the Cup Series is qualifying to set the field for the 68-lap race on Saturday at 11:30 am ET, with Sunday’s main event scheduled for 3:30 pm ET on FOX.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.