Tyler Reddick was the top-finishing Toyota driver with a second-place result in Sunday’s Southern 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway. Reddick and 23XI Racing teammate Bubba Wallace (seventh) both finished in the top-10 in the opening race of the 10-race NCS Playoffs.
Hamlin won the first two stages and led a race-high 199 laps however a loose wheel resulted in Hamlin falling a lap down and he was later involved in an on-track incident. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Christopher Bell, who won the pole, and Martin Truex Jr. also experienced issues during the 500-mile race.
With the runner-up result, Reddick sits third in the Playoffs with Hamlin in fifth, Truex in sixth, Bell in 12th and Wallace in 13th.
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Race 27 of 36 – 501.3 miles, 367 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kyle Larson*
2nd, TYLER REDDICK
3rd, Chris Buescher*
4th, William Byron*
5th, Ross Chastain*
7th, BUBBA WALLACE
18th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
21st, TY GIBBS
23rd, CHRISTOPHER BELL
25th, DENNY HAMLIN
TYLER REDDICK, No. 45 Jordan Brand Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
What more did you need at the end of the race to catch Kyle Larson?
“Man, I don’t know maybe just a little bit longer run. It had just gotten short enough to where you didn’t save a whole lot I don’t think. Kyle (Larson) and I were pretty close the majority of the day, honestly. He just got ahead of us there unfortunately on pit road, but all in all this is the day that we needed to have. I’m really just thankful for the hard work from the pit crew, the team, everyone at the shop. Days like this with a car like this we haven’t been able to get a second place finish out of it so I’m really glad we’re able to do that. We’re sitting pretty good. It was a pretty good points day on top of that as well.”
What was it like looking in your rear view trying to hold off Chris Buescher?
“It was a tough balance. I wanted to keep pushing to try and get Kyle (Larson), but I was just getting so loose. I about wrecked in the middle of (turns) one and two a few times. I don’t know. I was either going to catch Kyle or I was going to wreck in the middle of one and two and finish the last car out — 28th. It just didn’t make sense in my head, so we’ll take the second place. Hopefully one day in the future we come back and have another shot at the Southern 500.”
BUBBA WALLACE, No. 23 McDonald’s Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
How was your race today?
“I’m not happy with myself. Apologies to Joey (Logano), apologies to AJ (Allmendinger). I think the important thing to learn here is to not make enemies race one when you’re in the Playoffs because they make it hell, so I deserve everything I got throughout the night. Just did not execute. I’ve got to be better. I appreciate the team for sticking behind me through all of the mistakes that I caused them. They didn’t let us down and got us back to a top-10 finish. I was trying to hang on for a top-five, but you’re a double-edged sword. You go really hard at the beginning to try to get a gap or save and you’ve got Ross (Chastain) behind you, and you know he’s not going to let you have any breathing room. All in all, a decent day – a really good day for our team, but the driver’s got to go back to the drawing board and just take a step back, take a breath and regroup and go to Kansas and have a little one-year anniversary tour.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Yahoo! Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 23rd
What happened in the incident on track?
“Just got in the marbles in turn two and damaged the car really. That was pretty much the story of our night.”
What is your outlook for the upcoming Playoff races?
“We have speed. We’ve had speed a lot and I know that in Kansas we’re going to be fast again. That’s been a really good track for Toyota. I know that we have the speed to do it, we’ve just got to put it all together.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Sport Clips Haircuts Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 25th
What happened to cause you to pit?
“It’s really tough to tell. It looked like the left rear was still tightening as we were gone. It’s close enough to where it didn’t matter. What I felt, I was in a crash. I had to bring it in and just turned the day upside down.”
Is this why getting Playoff points in the regular season matters so much?
“Yeah. It all matters for sure. All the work you put in, the stages, the regular season, it all matters. I don’t know what the points are, I really don’t care. Just I hate losing a race that we definitely should have won.”
Did your car have a lot of damage during the on-track incident?
“I didn’t think the damage was that bad, but the car drove significantly worse after that incident. Once you damage the splitter on these cars, they’re no good.”
Does the amount of speed you had today give you confidence for the rest of this round?
“We think we’re going to win every week. There’s not one week where I show up and I don’t think I’m going to win. But you’ve got to play the game and sometimes when you play the game it doesn’t work out the way you planned. I am happy about the speed the car had and the restarts that I had. The things I had to work on I felt like I really did well today. It’s part of the process. We move on and if we advance, all we really lost out on is points for the next round so we’ll see.”