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Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer Just Miss The Cut

Unfortunately, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer will not get the opportunity to fight for a championship this year as both drivers failed to qualify for the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase.

It wasn’t without effort as the pair battled hard throughout the American Ethanol 225 at Chicagoland Speedway, running inside the top-five at times and fighting back from adversity en route to top-10 finishes.

Reddick started off the race quietly inside of the top-10, breaking into the top-five through the middle portion of the event. His night took a turn with 38 laps to go when Johnny Sauter and Ben Kennedy getting ahead of him, with Kennedy’s spinning truck hitting the right rear quarter panel on Reddick’s No. 29 Ford 150. Reddick came down pit road, getting the damage patched up and returning to the track.

He was able to fight his way back into the top-five after taking two tires on a late race pit stop, battling with John Wes Townley for the fourth spot. Unfortunately, contact was made with six laps to go resulting in Townley getting into the outside wall. On the pair of restarts to close the race, Reddick ended up drifting back a bit through the field, crossing the finish line in ninth.

Custer showed more speed than Reddick throughout the night, getting himself up inside the top-five in the early stages. However, when he came down pit road on Lap 83, he was speeding coming off pit road, resulting in having to restart from the tail of the field. Custer was able to make his way back to the front, moving up back inside of the top-five.

However, there were more troubles to come. Spencer Gallagher got into the wall ahead of him, causing him to jump out of line quickly. Unfortunately, Grant Enfinger was already there, and the pair made contact, sending Enfinger through the grass with 32 laps to go. Custer stayed out, hoping to keep his track position and fight for the race win. Though when the race went green, it was evident he had a tire going flat, and when the caution flew again with 25 laps to go, he made his way down pit road.

Restarting once again from the tail of the field, he was able to make it back up to 10th by the time the checkered flag flew.

While both drivers have continued to get better over the season and contend for wins, it ultimately wasn’t enough this year. Now the focus for the rest of the year will be on getting wins.

“We had been picking up speed each week and one or two more weeks, we would’ve had one,” Reddick said. “It sucks not to be in the chase, but we will get a win before its over.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Chicagoland Comes at Opportunistic Time for Reddick

With only one race remaining before the Camping World Truck Series Chase begins, Tyler Reddick sits 11th in points, 39 points behind the Chase cut-off. As a result, the only way he can make the chase is by scoring a win this weekend.

If there were a track on the schedule more perfect for a win-or-bust scenario for Reddick, it’d be Chicagoland Speedway.

The Brad Keselowski Racing driver has competed on the intermediate oval twice in his career, scoring a pair of top-fives for an average finish of third. In short, he knows his way around. His knowledge comes out in his words, admitting it’s a challenge.

“The back straightaway can throw some people off, but you can make a pass anywhere on the race track,” he said. “The bottom is still the fast way around the track, but you’ll see people moving around trying to find clean air. You must take advantage of the momentum when you have a run and complete the pass because you don’t want to stall out and lose positions. The track conditions are constantly changing, so it can be a gamble, setup-wise, to have a good Cooper Standard Ford F-150 at the end of the race.”

This year things haven’t gone as well as he hoped with only four top-fives and seven top-10s on the season. However, he enters with momentum as his latest top-10 came just two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and speedways seem to fit Reddick the best as he has scored 23 top-10s in 37 truck series speedway starts. It’s also worth noting four of the top-10s this season have come on the intermediate tracks while leading 149 laps.

So far this weekend, Reddick has shown speed as he was sixth quickest in the second practice, while teammate Daniel Hemric was quickest. With speed in the truck this weekend, as they have shown over the past month or so, a win could be just around the corner.

“Our goal is to win every race, so that won’t change for us this week,” Reddick’s crew chief Doug Randolph said. “I think knowing that we must win makes it a little easier as far as risk versus reward with our decisions and strategy. The biggest thing at Chicagoland is there is room to race. There are a couple of different grooves, and you can make ‘em all work.

“Tyler scored his first top five there and last year he had a good run. He and everyone on the Cooper Standard team have a lot of confidence going into the weekend.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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HEMRIC: ‘I Didn’t Do My Part’

LONG POND, PA – The Chase in the Camping World Truck Series has brought added pressure to the series throughout 2016. With only four races remaining in the regular season, the importance of performing well is paramount for all potential championship contenders.

Daniel Hemric entered the Pocono Mountains 150 as the highest driver on the Truck Series Chase Grid without a win this season. However, this team was among the 11 trucks involved in incidents on Saturday.

The record nine cautions in this event produced numerous restarts that led to additional carnage. This made mastering restarts crucial to success. Unfortunately for Hemric, the Lap 28 restart didn’t turn out well as he entered Turn 1 and lost control.

“Obviously, restarts are a key here so you try to get all you can get,” Hemric said. “But it was still pretty early in the race, and I had a huge run into one, got underneath the No. 86 and obviously with his pace all day I figured we’d be easily clear by the time we got to the center.”

As Hemric spun around, he slid up the track and collected teammate Tyler Reddick, who entered the race as the last truck on the Chase Grid.

“I hate that I caught my teammate up there,” Hemric said. “I mean I was trying to stay in the gas and keep from coming up on the race track, but just a real bad spot in the corner there when I spun.”

Reddick went to the garage for repairs following the accident but was unable to return to competition. He finished 26th and is now 10th in the driver’s standings, one point outside of the top-eight Chase positions.

As for Hemric, he is currently sixth on the Chase Grid, 31 points ahead of Ben Kennedy in ninth. Despite the points safety net, Hemric expressed frustration over his struggles at Pocono Raceway

“Points don’t matter if I don’t make smart decisions there,” he said.

Hemric believes his Brad Keselowski Racing team brought a strong truck to the track but is disappointed that he couldn’t have performed better.

“I hate it for these guys,” Hemric said. “Everybody on this Blue Gate Bank Ford F150 do whatever they can do to bring good race trucks to the track. To get taken out like that by our own means is just tough to swallow, I feel like we had a really good truck.”

Looking ahead to the next month and a half before the Chase commences at New Hampshire, Hemric believes that this team can excel.

“I feel confident in what we’re bringing to the track every week, it’s just a matter of execution and today I didn’t do my part. I just have to go there and be that much better.”

Hemric scored top-10 finishes at the next three tracks on the Truck Series schedule in 2015, including two fourth-place results at Bristol and Canada.

While today’s performance may not have been ideal for the No. 19 team, they will continue to be a threat in upcoming races, and remain in position to make the playoffs.

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @NASCARJason

EMAIL JASON AT jason.schultz@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Truck Race Draws Mixed Emotions from Drivers

SPARTA, Ky – The Buckle Your Truck 225, for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, did not disappoint when it came to racing Thursday night with three drivers competing for the win on the final lap.

Although, if you ask some of the drivers they may have a different opinion.

The prevalent topic of the weekend is the repaving of Kentucky Speedway and what kind of racing it is going to bring to the table.

Drivers were concerned about widening out the bottom groove, so there could be more side by side racing. One of those drivers was Kyle Busch. He stated he was able to make some passes in the second groove.

“The second groove is a little edgy. It wasn’t as bad as I expected [it] to be. We will just have to see how it goes for the rest of the weekend.” 

Busch made these comments after his night ended early on lap 58 when he spun out and crashed into the wall.

Parker Kligerman substituting for the injured John Wes Townley, came home 19th  and gave the track a 5-star rating.  

“I thought it was great. It is one of the coolest race tracks. It is going to age really cool. I love unique race tracks, and that is what this track is.”

When you’re the race winner, there’s not too much to complain about and William Byron gave some positive feedback about the repaving. He also credited that his win came down to strategy.

“It is so hooked up; you are on the track. If you make one little mistake, it is easy for the next guy to get a side draft off of you,” said Byron, “The key for us was to be able to make quick work of traffic.”

Ben Rhodes, a Louisville, Ky. native had high hopes prior to the race.

“I cannot put into words how much a win would mean to me. I kind of feel like Dale Jr. with all the support,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “It was a limited race as far as passing goes. The groove widens out as the race went on, but it was still hard to pass. We just couldn’t get past people to get that track position.”

A win would of have been priceless at his home track, but he settled for a 13th place finish.

BKR driver, Tyler Reddick brought home a tenth-place finish. His biggest demon was gaining track position.

“Unfortunately, the racing was somewhat like we thought it was going to be. Our group tried really hard to get us some track position. Unfortunately it didn’t play out tonight.” Reddick said.

Eighth-place finisher, defending Series Champion, Matt Crafton came home with an 8th place finish, and was less than impressed with the repaving.

“It’s a shame they dug up this race track. All in all, we survived and got out of here with an average finish at best,” he said, “we knew passing wasn’t going to be anything; it was all about track position.”

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race was the first taste of what fans and drivers can expect for the weekend — and while drivers had differing views, you can never argue with an exciting finish.

Emily Spink is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist.

EMAIL EMILY AT emily.spink@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Favorites Flop at Gateway

All good things must come to an end.

Just ask William Byron, Tyler Reddick, and Matt Crafton.

These three drivers entered the weekend with impressive streaks. Byron was coming off back-to-back wins, Reddick had three straight top fives, and Crafton hadn’t finished outside of the top 10 since February at Atlanta.

Unfortunately, those streaks ended this weekend at Gateway.

The race started off solid for the trio. Byron and Reddick led the most laps, 47 and 41, respectively, while Crafton ran as high second.

With 12 laps to go, Reddick found himself in a wild battle for the lead with John Hunter Nemechek, as Byron and Crafton worked their way up through the pack.

Then, everything went wrong.

Reddick made contact with Nemechek, sending Reddick sideways down the track into the oncoming traffic where he hit Byron and pushed Crafton’s No.88 hard into the outside wall. The accident ended the day for Reddick and Crafton, who finished 25th and 27th, respectively.

Byron and his team continued but only salvaged an 18th-place finish.

“We led laps, which was good, and we had a good truck and really was in second or third there most of the time and just kind of got moved out of the way. It was alright,” Byron said. “Just knew it was coming sometime or another I guess, but it’s good how we fought at the end to get it fixed. So we’ll just move on to Kentucky, and congratulations to Christopher (Bell) too. That was awesome.”

Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Reddick Claws Back to Top-Five Finish

Despite going for a spin early in the Rattlesnake 400 at Texas Motor Speedway, Tyler Reddick fought back for a top-five finish.

Reddick ran up front in the beginning stages of Friday’s race before spinning out at Lap 52 due to a flat tire.

The Brad Keselowski Racing driver brought the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford down pit road, but missed his pit stall and had to drive all the way around the 1.5-mile oval with the punctured tire, slightly damaging the right rear fender, which cost him a lap to the leaders.

Reddick never gave up, and received the free pass during a yellow at Lap 121. He then worked his way through the field in the final 46 laps, coming home in fifth.

After finishing runner-up to Erik Jones last season, the 20-year-old said he was ready to win a championship. Unfortunately, 2016 didn’t start off the year as planned. In the first four races this season, Reddick failed to post a top-10 finish as a result of pit road penalties and on-track incidents.

In the last three races, however, the Californian has found his groove from 2015 with three straight top-10 finishes, and has climbed up to fifth in points.

The only thing missing for Reddick is a trip to victory lane, which could punch his ticket to the inaugural Camping World Truck Series chase.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Reddick Faces Uphill Battle Following Loudon

After a tough couple of days, New Hampshire will be a weekend @TylerReddick puts behind him.

Entering the weekend only 10 points behind leader @Erik_Jones after a solid second place day at Chicagoland, Reddick was hoping to carry that momentum into New Hampshire. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the case for the 19-year-old.

When race weekend started on Friday, Reddick and the Brad Keselowski Racing team didn’t show the speed his championship rivals did. Failing to practice within the top-10, placing 15th in the first practice session, Reddick also wasn’t within the top-15 in the second and final practice session of the weekend placing 18th (11 positions behind Jones).

In qualifying, the No 19 Stoney Creek Records Ford managed to advance into round two. Falling short of advancing to the final 12, Reddick had to settle for a 14th starting position, again behin his rivals.

During the early laps of the UNOH 175, Reddick would make some early gains, at one point racing in the top-10. But on Lap 37, Reddick’s day would take a literal turn. Running through oil on the track, he wound up sideways on the frontstretch. Fortunately, he didn’t make contact with the wall.

As the race got back going Reddick couldn’t manage to get anything on track going and stayed in the middle of the pack. A caution before their green flag pit stop helped with track position and moving into the top-10 with a little over 30 to go. But, just as things were getting better and looking up, another spin would stall any momentum he was gaining.

With 14 laps to go, Reddick again got loose, this time on the backstretch. Hitting the inside wall, the spin ended any chance at a top-10 finish. As the race closed, Reddick would bring the truck home a disappointing 15th place.

Reddick dropped to third in the championship standings, 12 markers behind @Matt_Crafton and 19 back from Jones. With only six races remaining in the Camping World Truck Series season, a championship is not impossible for Reddick, but it has now turned into an uphill battle.

Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

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Keselowski Closing In on His Ultimate Single Season Dream

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Brad Keselowski has put himself in position to earn what he believes is the greatest accomplishment a driver can achieve in the modern day NASCAR.

Following another victory for his team in the Camping World Truck Series (with Ryan Blaney) on Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion described his ultimate dream — to stand on the championship stage for all three NASCAR national touring divisions come the end of the season.

With only three months remaining, Keselowski has reasons for optimism. His Sprint Cup victory at Fontana in April ensured his participation in the Chase for the Championship and he has climbed up to fifth in the standings approaching the end of the regular season.

In the XFNITY Series, the No. 22 Penske entry he shares with Blaney, Joey Logano and Alex Tagliani has a 92 point lead over the next closest entrant and he is also leading the Truck Series standings with Tyler Reddick.

In short, this is a dream season for Keselowski by every possible metric.

“My goals for the past couple of years have remained the same,” Keselowski said. “I want to be on the championship stage at the banquet and I want to be there for all three divisions — as an owner in the truck series, a driver in owners championship in the XFINITY Series and of course, as a Sprint Cup Series driver.

“I think nowadays that would be the ultimate accomplishment in the Stock Car world and that’s my goal.”

Entering the season, the XFINITY Series owner’s championship seemed like the most realistic bet. Even the Sprint Cup was within grasp as his No. 2 Team Penske crew is undoubtedly one of the best in recent memory.

The fact that Keselowski is contending for the Truck Series championship with second-year driver Tyler Reddick is a story by itself. Brad Keselowski Racing is having its best season as a company and has given the talented dirt Late Model graduate the tools needed to contend with both the two-time defending champion, Matt Crafton, and a popular preseason pick in Erik Jones nipping at his heels.

“Winning the Truck Series championship is really important to me and Tyler is helping to make that a reality,” Keselowski said. “For that I’m grateful, but we still have a lot of work to do … I want to accomplish (winning all three championships) once in my career and we’re certainly tracking the right way.”

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

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Brad Keselowski Racing Fires First Shot of 2015

The No. 29 and No. 19 are starting this year on all eight cylinders, having made noise in the first race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series of 2015. The team has steadily gained horsepower in the series since about 2012, five years after entering the sport.

@TylerReddick started off a winner in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night, grabbing the checkered flag just before Kyle Busch Motorsports driver @erik_jones.

Reddick was in the No. 19 truck in 2013 but participated on a part-time basis in 2014. He signed on to a full-time seat in the No. 19 Ford for this year.

@AustinTheriault is one of a quartet who will have driving duties in the No. 29 for Team BKR this season. Theriault and Reddick stuck together in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 Friday night and showed the field strength in teamwork. They were able to escape two big crashes that left only 14 trucks on the lead lap.

Reddick called Theriault a “quick learner” and that allowed the pair to work well during the 100-lap race Friday night.

Pit stops were clean, and the pit crews were able to keep the drivers out in front. They were side-by-side on restarts on four occasions during the race and stayed together each time. Reddick was able to power to the front and fall into the bottom groove in front of Theriault for the rest of the race. A mad scramble of four-wide drivers trying to slingshot to front for the win shuffled Theriault back a couple of positions.

The start of the season looks good for Team BKR and owner Brad Keselowski noted that Friday night.

“…I feel good about where our program’s going,” said Keselowski. We’re making a lot of investments with the team to be competitive, to be a top-notch, high-caliber team that can win a championship year in and year out. Looks like it’s paying off right away.

“To see what it means to Tyler, Doug, the whole team, kind of see it from a different elevation, it’s a whole different really high of emotions. Man, it’s incredible.”

Can they keep up the momentum when they head to Atlanta Motor Speedway next week? The NCWTS hasn’t been at the Atlanta track since 2012. On top of that, the drivers will be racing after the XFINITY Series contest on Saturday afternoon. It will be a race to watch to see who can tame the 1.5-mile in a unique double-header next weekend.

EMAIL ANITA AT anita.goodan@popularspeed.com
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Reddick Dirt Tracks His Way to Fourth in Texas

By Chris Owens – A veteran often knows when to back off. A rookie goes hard from the drop of the green flag.

Tyler Reddick proved that theory right on Friday night in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. While Kyle Busch was on his way to his seventh win of the season, Reddick was turning heads at home, and the racetrack with the amazing saves he performed in his Brad Keselowski Racing truck.

While most people are shocked by the moves the rookie driver showed on the track, many folks that have seen Reddick race before this season know what the former dirt track racing driver is capable of doing.

Reddick was quick to point to his previous dirt track experience helping him following his fourth place run on Friday night.

Sparks from from the #19 DrawTite Ford, driven by Tyler Reddick, as he leads Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, and Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Goof Off/Menards Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Sparks from from the #19 DrawTite Ford, driven by Tyler Reddick, as he leads Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Crafton during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

“Dirt racing! That’s pretty much all there was to it. I grew up racing sideways 24/7. I raced over a 100 times a year back when I was younger, growing up, ” said Reddick following his third, fourth place finish of the season.

“It was all about dirt racing. Dirt racing is all about car control, running sideways and not wrecking pretty much. I was able to put that to use here. Whenever you have an ill-handling vehicle, it comes in handy when you have a vehicle that’s loose. It helps a lot with the car control.”

With just a handful of laps left, Reddick was left battling one of the series must grizzle veterans in the form of Johnny Sauter. Multiple times, his Ford F-150 stepped out from under him and he was able to collect the truck like nothing happened.

It was a point in the race that stood out for Reddick, but one that he doesn’t think either driver did wrong. It was just hard racing between two drivers, the way it was suppose to be.

“It was getting hairy there with Johnny (Sauter). Johnny wasn’t doing anything wrong; he was racing me as hard as I would race him. We’re racing for position; we’re not necessarily racing for points, maybe owners points. Every spot matters and you have to learn that with championship racing.”

With a loose truck under control, the final caution with just two laps to go would open up an opportunity for him and his BKR team to gamble for a good finish.

As it does in most racing, strategy played a key roll in the final running position. When a handful of trucks stayed out, things would be get hairy on the final restart of the night. Racing on scuff tires on the final two lap run of the night, Reddick was able to catapult his way into the top-five and notice his third top-five finish of the season.

“We were able to put on those scuff (tires) at the end and had a mad dash to the finish those last ten laps; we were able to take advantage of what we had,” said Reddick.

“I feel like I made some bold moves all over the place, from the top of the racetrack to the bottom of the racetrack just trying to get back to the front as quickly as we could. I knew you had to make your moves fast there on the opening two or three laps of a restart. We were able to do that in the end.”

It was his second consecutive top 10 finishes with a sixth place finish at Martinsville a week ago. Reddick says things didn’t go the way he would have liked on Friday night.

“We had a lot of things not go really crystal clear or perfect for us today, and we just had to overcome all of those things and I feel like we did a good job of that. “

For Reddick, however, he’ll take a fourth place finish after the dirt track kind of night he had.

The term “loose is fast and on the edge of out of control” came to mind on Friday night. Reddick defined that to a point and more.

“We were able to overcome those things and have a good finish. But it was a handful.”

EMAIL CHRIS AT chris.owens@popularspeed.com

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