23XI Racing driver Tyler Reddick was made available to media after earning the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday:
TYLER REDDICK, No. 45 Jordan Brand Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Tell us about your team’s outlook heading into tomorrow after that pole today?
“Yeah, this is what we needed to do. We had hoped and put a lot of effort into this, as all the playoff teams do for this race. For the most part, this is as good of an outcome as possible for the No. 45 team today. Bubba (Wallace) had a solid day as well, even though he wanted to qualify better in the second round there. When you look at what both of us need to do tomorrow, we’re taking the right steps.”
With you on the pole and Bubba Wallace starting fourth, along with the RFK Racing cars a little farther back, how conscious will you be of them tomorrow?
“Billy (Scott, crew chief) would be better to talk to about that than me. For me, my job is very simple, to go out and try to put together the best lap in practice and get a read on the car – to see what it’s like in the long run and go from there to get ready for qualifying. So, for me, no matter how the race plays out, I go out there and try to nail every corner and lap. And if I make a mistake, try to minimize the time loss. These are the things that us and all of the other teams will be focusing on. No matter if the strategy changes, my job doesn’t.”
It seems like you and the 45 team have had a great deal of confidence coming into this weekend. Where does that stem from?
“It’s been there all year. I noticed it right at the beginning of the year coming over to Toyota. Obviously, they weren’t happy with their road course results last year, and they’ve made some huge improvements this year, starting off with our victory at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in the spring. For me, we got the speed. The team has been working great. Everyone’s efforts at TRD, and our alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing has been huge. Everyone is doing a great job right now and all the Toyota Camrys have the speed. It’s great to see. Now, we have to manage this race tomorrow. If I just stick to the simple approach, we’ll be in good shape.”
Are stage points critical for you to get tomorrow? Do you try to get as many as you can in case something happens around you?
“Yeah, this is a scenario that could play out. But I’m going to leave that up to Billy and the team to figure it out. We’ve seen it before, with last year’s race. It was going to end a lot different and the playoffs would’ve been different on the points before that last caution came out. I’m going to stay in my lane and see where I can improve as a driver and leave that decision up to the team.”
Does the restart zone give you as the leader more opportunities to pull further ahead of people?
“I think upfront it should, right? When you look at Indy, obviously the conditions in Chicago played a factor in that. Yeah, with the different restart zones it’s more worrying about one, maybe two cars, not like 10 trying to fill the space of two. So, that’s the expectation, right? We’re going to watch this race (Xfinity Series) here in a little bit and we’re going to learn quite a bit. Obviously, the Xfinity car is a bit more grip limited, but the struggles that they’ll face will be similar to what we’ll face on Sunday. This race will be pretty telling. More than anything, I kind of got the feeling that the control car is going to have a bigger advantage than it’s had in year’s past here for sure.”
What concerns will you have if you’re restarting further back in the field?
“It’s unknown, right? When you think about it, it could be as simple as vision right – visuals. The first car and the first row is going to know where they’re at with the chicane. The second row is going to have a little bit harder time. The third or fourth row it’s going to get to a point – I remember this at the Daytona Road Course when we were going through the back chicane – you just get to a point where you’re in a line of cars so deep, you don’t know where track limits are left or right. Going to be interesting to see how that plays out. Obviously, we don’t have to worry about it as much as the Xfinity cars, but the Xfinity guys have to be really careful of the stack ups, knocking radiators out before they make it they take the first lap. I think obviously as we’ve seen with this car, it’s a little more resilient front and back, but still, you can’t do damage to the front of the car or back of the car. Wheel to wheel contact. I think the Xfinity cars are a little tougher, a little more flex and things. The Cup cars, they’re strong, but little contact can have an effect. Those are the things you’ve got to be aware of – just spatially aware. It’s going to be a difficult thing but I think you’re just going to have to be smart because once you leave the restart zone, it’s fair game. People are going to be going for holes and gaps. Just going into it with an open mind as a spectator today to see how this plays out to give us some insight into tomorrow’s race.”
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