Tyler Reddick out-drives Chase Elliott for maiden Cup victory

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The flagstand showed 10 laps to go at Road America.

With each passing lap of the KwikTrip 250, Tyler Reddick, who took the lead with 17 laps to go, inched further and further away from Chase Elliott. Lap traffic coming to seven to go, however, cut his advantage from .956 to just over half a second.

“I thought he was going to run me back down,” he said. “I started to make some mistakes, started to take care of the brakes; apparently I didn’t need to.”

He pulled back to nine-tenths of a second with six to go, then to over a second with five to go.

By the time Reddick crossed the line with four to go, he pulled away from Elliott by two seconds. The only thing that threatened that gap was an untimely caution.

Austin Dillon, his Richard Childress Racing teammate, almost brought that out with a flat left-front tire.

Luckily for Reddick, Dillon pulled off the track in the Turn 5 escape route with two to go. So he avoided a late restart and drove to his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

It’s his first victory in 92 career starts, as well as the fifth first-time win by a driver in the 2022 season. Moreover, he’s the 203rd different driver to win a Cup Series race.

Tyler Reddick out-drives Chase Elliott for maiden Cup victory

The top-10 finishers

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Elliott led a race high of 36 laps, but it wasn’t enough to win, as he finished runner-up, 3.304 seconds behind.

“I didn’t do a very good job there,” he said. “I just let him stay close enough to pressure me there while we had decent tires and never could get enough of a gap. Made a couple mistakes. I was gaining a gap there a couple times and made a couple mistakes and let him get back close enough to get me out of sync, and then after that just started struggling.

“Obviously it was super difficult to get to somebody to pass them. It was impressive he was able to get up there and capitalize on my mistakes. Happy for those guys. Appreciate the effort out of our team. Wish I could have done a better job there. I felt like we probably needed a little bit, but I think we were good enough to win, so those always hurt.”

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Kyle Larson rounded out the podium in third.

“Tyler and Chase were really good throughout the duration of a run,” he said. “I seemed to be okay early and then would kind of just slowly fade away from them. You know, I don’t really know. I felt honestly pretty good, but they must have just had better grip. They were really good road racers. Honestly probably a little bit better than I am.

“Yeah, it was a good clean race for us, happy to get a top-three, and yeah, it was successful for my standards.”

While Reddick broke the two-race win streak by Trackhouse Racing on road courses, Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five.

Chris BuescherAustin CindricMichael McDowellAJ Allmendinger and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-10.

Tyler Reddick out-drives Chase Elliott for maiden Cup victory

Race summary

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – JULY 3: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Cup Series Kwik Trip 250 at Road America on July 3, 2022, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Photo: Logan Riely/Getty Images

Elliott led the field to green at 3:26 p.m. ET. Chase Briscoe pulled to his outside in Turn 1 and hung along through Turn 5, before Elliott powered ahead. Afterwards, he pulled away from the field, despite the steering issues he radioed about during pre-race pace laps.

Just about everybody and their mother pitted on Lap 12. Elliott’s team called an audible and brought him down pit road on Lap 13. Briscoe inherited the lead and won the first stage. He pitted during the stage break and Elliott cycled back to the lead.

Aside from a spin by Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace, not much of note happened in the second stage. That was, until all but 10 cars short-pitted the stage on Lap 28. Elliott came down a lap later, and Ryan Blaney cycled to the lead and won the second stage.

Like the first stage break, Elliott cycled back to the lead, under the second stage break, and led the field back to green on Lap 33.

Unlike most of the race, Elliott didn’t pull away from Reddick in the final stage.

“Well, I definitely knew he was fast, but we could stay with him on the long run, which told me if we cycled through that last — that pit sequence, we’d be close or get around him, we’d have a great shot,” Reddick said.

He pitted from the lead with 19 laps to go, while Blaney, Denny Hamlin and Harrison Burton took turns up front.

With 18 to go, Reddick lost ground to Elliott.

“We were within reach,” Reddick said. “Thankfully just waited for the right opportunity and was able to take advantage of it in Turn 6.”

With 17 to go, Elliott over-drove Turn 1, which let Reddick catch back up. Entering Turn 5, Elliott locked up, Reddick pulled to his inside and completed the overtake in Turn 6.

This set up the run to the finish.

Tyler Reddick out-drives Chase Elliott for maiden Cup victory

What else happened

Aside from a few spins sprinkled throughout the race, not much of note happened. The only cautions that flew, Sunday, were for the two stage breaks.

The playoff picture

Reddick’s victory bumps Harvick out of a playoff spot. He trails Christopher Bell for the final playoff spot by 20 points. Barring three new winners or a late-season collapse, Martin Truex Jr. (61) and Blaney (112) are safely in on points.

Nuts and bolts

The race lasted two hours, 35 minutes and 51 seconds, at an average speed of 96.622 mph. There were eight lead changes among six different drivers and two cautions for four laps.

Elliott leaves Road America with a 33-point lead over Blaney.

TOP IMAGE: Sean Gardner/Getty Images