NASCAR Barometer: Tyler Reddick Wins Kansas in OT

NASCAR Barometer: Tyler Reddick Wins Kansas in OT

This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.

A handful of drivers dominated the lead of Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, but Tyler Reddick came out ahead in an overtime restart to capture his second victory of the season to seal his spot in the next round of playoff eliminations. Reddick took four tires under the final caution and lined up in the inside line for the final restart. When Denny Hamlin got off to a slow start, the bottom lane opened and Reddick was there to seize the opportunity. His victory was the second playoff race in a row where he finished in the top two, and he could have the most momentum as the round of 16 draws to a close. 

Reddick and Kyle Larson have secured their spots in the round of 12 with wins while the other 14 playoff competitors will be racing for their spots alongside them this week at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick currently holds the 12th and final transfer spot with seven points separating him from Martin Truex Jr. in 13th. Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell all will have to come from behind this week to keep their championship hopes alive. The battle to advance will be a tight one, too. Just 14 points separate ninth from 13th in the standings, and drivers will be scrambling for every point possible this Saturday night in a short-track fight under the lights at Bristol.

UPGRADE

Tyler Reddick - Reddick spent nearly all of Sunday's Hollywood Casino

A handful of drivers dominated the lead of Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, but Tyler Reddick came out ahead in an overtime restart to capture his second victory of the season to seal his spot in the next round of playoff eliminations. Reddick took four tires under the final caution and lined up in the inside line for the final restart. When Denny Hamlin got off to a slow start, the bottom lane opened and Reddick was there to seize the opportunity. His victory was the second playoff race in a row where he finished in the top two, and he could have the most momentum as the round of 16 draws to a close. 

Reddick and Kyle Larson have secured their spots in the round of 12 with wins while the other 14 playoff competitors will be racing for their spots alongside them this week at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick currently holds the 12th and final transfer spot with seven points separating him from Martin Truex Jr. in 13th. Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell all will have to come from behind this week to keep their championship hopes alive. The battle to advance will be a tight one, too. Just 14 points separate ninth from 13th in the standings, and drivers will be scrambling for every point possible this Saturday night in a short-track fight under the lights at Bristol.

UPGRADE

Tyler Reddick - Reddick spent nearly all of Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 running inside the top 10. He qualified fifth and scored stage points in both opening segments. His real chance at victory came with the final restart, though. Reddick was one of a handful of drivers that hit pit road to get four new tires for the last few laps. He chose the inside line for that restart and, when the lane opened ahead of him, there was no looking back. Reddick drove to his second win of the season, earning his spot alongside Kyle Larson in the next round of playoff eliminations. Two playoff races with finishes of first and second make Reddick one of the hottest playoff drivers at the moment. Ahead is Bristol, where Reddick has four prior starts and one top-10 finish. He finished 25th in last year's race.

Kyle Larson - Larson picked up at Kansas right where he finished the week before. He dominated the opening segment of Sunday's race and earned a playoff point for the stage win. However, a few issues in the second stage dropped him through the field, leaving him to work through the finish to recover. Recover he did, though. Larson finished fourth after the final restart, which was his second top-five finish of the playoffs and 12th of the season. His win two weeks ago at Darlington already advanced him in the knockout stages, but Sunday's performance was one of championship caliber after fighting back for a top result despite in-race problems. With just one finish outside of the top 10 from his last eight races at Bristol, Larson should be expected to be right back at the front of the order again next week, too. 

Brad Keselowski - Keselowski spent most of the early miles running toward the front of the pack Sunday afternoon. In the second stage he really came to life, though. He reeled in Chase Elliott in the final laps of the segment, making the pass for the lead and then holding off Denny Hamlin for the stage win and a playoff point. His RFK Racing Ford ultimately didn't have the speed to keep battling some of the leaders, but the former champion guided his car home to a ninth-place finish to earn his 13th top-10 of the season and fifth place in the playoff standings. He now heads to the final race of the first round with a 33-point cushion back to the drop zone and in good position to secure his spot in the round of 12. Keselowski is a three-time Bristol winner and led 109 laps in last year's race before finishing 13th.

Joey Logano - Sunday's race wasn't shaping up to be a good one for Logano. The defending champion qualified just outside of the top 10 and struggled to work his way forward. He scored some stage points in the second segment, but his struggles persisted in the final stage. The Team Penske teammates just didn't have the speed they needed to contend for top finishes. However, Logano's team never gave up and one final caution gave them the chance to take a gamble. The No. 22 stayed out on old tires, and the move paid off with a swing of 10 points in their favor by holding position inside the top five for the finish. It was his ninth top-five of the season and puts him 12 points ahead of the cutoff to make the next round of eliminations on points. He still needs a top performance at Bristol, though. He has won twice on the concrete.

DOWNGRADE

Martin Truex Jr. - The second race of the playoffs was even worse for Truex than than the first. Less than 10 laps into Sunday's race, Truex suffered a tire issue that sent him into the outside wall and out of the race. The early exit from the race compounds his playoff trouble, falling further down the order and needing to make something happen this coming week at Bristol in order to stay alive in the championship hunt. Unfortunately, Bristol hasn't been the best track for him either. He has just two top-fives and four top-10s from 32 career starts at the track. He failed to finish last year's race due to steering issues and has just two top-10 finishes there since 2012. He is the first driver out of the transfer positions with seven points to safety and just this race at Bristol to turn things around.

Bubba Wallace - Tire issues continued throughout Sunday's race, biting Wallace while he was running second. The No. 23 car got loose, taking the car into the outside wall when the tire failed. Wallace was able to get the machine back to pit road, but a broken toe link from contact with the wall meant lengthy repairs to return him to the fray. The team continued to make repairs throughout the afternoon but couldn't advance Wallace beyond the 32nd finishing position, his worst result since March. Sitting 14th in standings, the coming race at Bristol will determine his playoff fate. Wallace has one top-10 at the track from eight series starts. He finished 29th in last year's race and will be one of the drivers doing all he can to gather as many points throughout Saturday night's race to try to keep his championship hopes alive.

Michael McDowell - A top-10 qualifying effort put McDowell and team in good position to help reduce their playoff deficit. Things drifted away from them after the green flag waved, though. McDowell faced a number of issues throughout the afternoon and missed out on stage points before coming home 26th. It was his outside of the top 25 from the first two playoff races, and those finishes leave him with a 40-point gap to Kevin Harvick in the final transfer position. McDowell will have to win Saturday night at Bristol to keep his championship hopes alive, and that seems unlikely given his past statistics at the track. He has just one top-10 finish from 23 career starts at Bristol, but his finishes have been improving recently. He was 11th in last year's race and finished in the top 15 there in three of the last four races.

Chris Buescher - Sunday's 27th-place finish was Buescher's first stumble of the playoffs and his worst result since winning three races in the span of five. It had not been an awful day for the No. 17 team, but they did run afoul of the tire issues that haunted the race. Late in the running Buescher suffered his, which brought out the final caution of the race. He picked up a few stage points in the second segment to ease the pain, but his trouble so late in the race meant any hope of a decent finish was out of the question. Buescher still holds ninth position in the playoff standings with a 13-point lead over the elimination spots. If he can successfully navigate the coming race at Bristol in playoff contention, he will benefit from a points reset for the next round of eliminations. He should have some confidence in doing so after leading 169 laps to win that race last season, though.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - Stenhouse's best finish  in the five races leading into Kansas was 13th. It was always hard to see a path to the second round of playoff eliminations for him, but nothing is yet final and Stenhouse has the potential to win races. Unfortunately, his race on Sunday was not what he needed as he missed stage points and finished 23rd. After finishing 16th at Darlington, he faces a test at Bristol with a 22-point deficit to the 12th and final transfer position. Covering that gap will be a tough ask of him and the team. He has just one top-20 finish at Bristol from his last seven tries and failed to finish four of the last five. His best Bristol result came in 2014 when he finished second. It is unlikely that the No. 47 crew will advance from this first playoff round, but their season will always be remembered for their Daytona 500 triumph.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Erik Jones - Sunday's race at Kansas started quietly for Jones, but he and the team raced their way to the front. Before 30 laps were complete. Jones had a fast car and was able to drive his way into the top 10, picking up stage points in the second segment. His speed enabled him to stay there for the rest of the distance, too. When the final caution waved, the No. 43 team used a two-tire stop to consolidate track position and give themselves a chance to play spoiler in the final laps. He crossed the finish line in third position, which was his best result of the season. With two top-10s from the last two races and three from the last six, Jones and his Legacy Motor Club team are on the rise. He could be in store for more this week, too. Jones has four top-fives and five top-10s from 10 career Bristol starts.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NASCAR Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NASCAR fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
NASCAR DFS: The Great American Getaway 400
NASCAR DFS: The Great American Getaway 400
NASCAR DFS Xfinity: Explore the Pocono Mountains 225
NASCAR DFS Xfinity: Explore the Pocono Mountains 225
NASCAR DFS Trucks: CRC Brakleen 175
NASCAR DFS Trucks: CRC Brakleen 175
The Great American Getaway 400 Preview: The Tricky Triangle
The Great American Getaway 400 Preview: The Tricky Triangle