“I feel like we’re really solid and feel like I went to COTA this year,” said Tyler Redick on the eve of this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma. The Corning, California native has reason to get excited as Reddick raced to his first win as a member of the 23XI Racing team in triple overtime at COTA earlier this year.
“Sonoma is a place I didn’t come to see a lot of races when I was younger,” said Reddick. “But yes, it is the closest thing to a home track. My previous two starts here weren’t the best, but I think everything we achieved last year really paid off after this race a year ago. And on top of that, at the race here a year ago, we had some issues with broken parts that really took us out, but our confidence is definitely high here. Our sim program went really well on Wednesday. I’m just excited to see what our pace looks like tomorrow.
Reddick has a particular enthusiasm for turning left and right in his Cup car.
“I really like the road courses,” said Reddick. “Each song is very different from the next in the current schedule we have. I really like the preparation that goes into it all. You gotta know how to run a race, you know? You have to manage how you attack and make passes. It’s just great fun. It all really forces you to start over and reset for every race on the road you go to. You know that the things that work on one song won’t work on the next.”
Reddick comes from a 35e place finish at last Sunday’s race at WWTR.
“I really enjoyed the track last Sunday,” said Reddick. “It’s a nice circuit, but we definitely had some problems along the way. They were lessons we learned. We don’t have to worry about going to Sonoma this weekend. That’s just the nature of a circuit like World Wide, where two corners are different in width and shape and the slope is different. It always makes for a very interesting race. Gateway is a great track and the St. Louis area is a great, great market and I’m glad NASCAR is finally tapping into that market. I have enjoyed driving it for the past two years.
“We are definitely in the mix almost every weekend now. The only thing holding us back is a little bit of inconsistency. We’ve had a lot of fun with that over the past few weeks. I would say we weren’t our best in Gateway in the race. Weather conditions were considerably cooler after what appeared to be an hour and a half of weather delay; it changed the track and took away from where our strengths were. But one thing that I really like about this team and this year so far is that on our good days we compete for wins as expected but on our bad days and worst we are a 15e-place car. To be able to compete at such a high level on good days and bad really speaks to the growth of 23XI Racing. I mean, they only started three years ago. The vision that everyone on the leadership side has here has been outstanding. I’ve heard it from many. It seems like every day someone new joins the organization and brings a new approach and new expertise to a new area that we need.
“It’s been really cool in the short time I’ve been here to see all that growth already. This is the second year of a two-car team that has already had a third car appear at select races. We had Travis Pastrana in Daytona, which was very exciting for us. Kamui Kobayashi will join us at the Indy Road Course. It’s just really cool to see how fast things have moved. I think the approach was mainly to win races and stages. We just haven’t done that enough this year. It’s hard to win at this level. We did, which is nice, and I think there are a lot of races coming up where we will have very big chances to fight for more and more points. It’s great to have that speed week in, week out. We are doing the right things and that speed is not going to go away. It stays with us.”
Ranked ninth in points with a finishing average of 15.4 so far during the 2023 NASCAR Cup season, Reddick is pleased to be part of the racing organization owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.
“Having an owner like Denny and a teammate like Bubba is just amazing,” he said. “We are very different, but that brings us closer together and that allows us to give our race team two very different opinions. Plus, it’s great that Kurt Busch is still part of this team. Kurt continues to be a huge part of this team and I’m really happy that he has the passion he has for racing and cares so much about racing because he’s really been a huge asset and a huge asset to this team. And not just for me and Bubba, but for everyone on the team. His experiences and the things he has been through are amazing. You get that by living it, and he has, and it’s great to have his opinion, his perspective and his help on this new journey with Toyota and this team.”
Story originally appeared on Racer