Race Weekend Central

Beyond the Cockpit with Tyler Reddick – Trucks, Super Dirt Late Models and Mini Outlaw Sprint Karts

Tyler Reddick has been making the transition to asphalt for a couple of years. At 16, he made his first NASCAR start in the K&N East Series at Rockingham Speedway. He came home with the win. He also had a top 10 in one of the two ARCA series races he ran that year. The transition has been slow, but this season he is running several races for Brad Keselowski Racing. Last Wednesday, he was in the Mudsummer Classic at Eldora and came home with a 11th-place finish. His season has been comprised primarily of finishes around 10th place. He has posted finishes of eighth, ninth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, sixteenth and 21st.

Reddick comes from a dirt racing background, starting on some of the most famous go-kart tracks on the West Coast and moving up to Winged Sprint Cars and Super Dirt Late Models. His list of accomplishments include being the youngest driver to ever qualify for the World 100 at Eldora and qualify for a World of Outlaws Sprint Car feature race. Reddick is only 18 years old and is already making his name known in asphalt racing as well. He took some time before the Truck race at Eldora to talk with Frontstretch about driving for Brad Keselowski, racing Mini Outlaws and what it is like in a Truck versus as Super Dirt Late Model at Eldora.

Tyler Reddick is Brad Keselowski's new protege in the Truck Series in 2014 and one of four drivers vying for the Rookie of the Year title. Photo courtesy Getty Images.
Tyler Reddick is Brad Keselowski’s new protege in the Truck Series in 2014 and one of four drivers vying for the Rookie of the Year title. Photo courtesy Getty Images.

Mike Neff: You’re running with Brad Keselowski Racing. What is it like to run in trucks that are competing for wins every week?

Tyler Reddick: It is a weight on the shoulders for sure. Very good trucks that I have been put in for this year and next year. There are a lot of expectations to run well. Hopefully we can build some momentum starting with running well tonight.

Neff: We’re at a dirt track right now but you’ve been showing some strength on asphalt tracks as well. Do you feel like you’ve made a statement to people who doubted you’d be able to make the transition from dirt to asphalt?

Reddick: I don’t feel like it has gone too well this year. We could definitely do a whole lot better but it hasn’t been terrible. There has been a lot of learning going on and we’ve come a long way from Daytona. It hasn’t been a bad year but there are definitely some things we need to put together and hopefully that will begin tonight.

Neff: Three weeks ago you won a Hell Tour race on dirt in a Super Late Model. How completely different are the Trucks on dirt compared to a Super Late Model?

Reddick: They are nothing like it. It is cool going around the same track but that is about the only thing in common between the Late Model and the Truck. The Truck gets around there in 21.8 or 21.9 before it gets much drier. Late Models go around there in 16 or 17 at the slowest. There is a big difference for sure but it is a lot of fun out there. It is different seeing the track from a different perspective based on the pace. Going around so much slower you get to see a few things around the race track that you didn’t notice before. They did change it a little bit. They took some banking out of the top of it so it probably isn’t as fast as it was before. It is a good track and it is cool to run up around the top and you don’t hit the wall too hard, at least not yet. I know we will before the night is over.

Neff: How did you get your start in racing?

Reddick: It has just been something my family has always done in the past. I grew up watching my dad race and started as a hobby at four years-old. We took it more seriously as I got older. I just got into racing being around vehicles and cars. It is what I loved and was surrounded by. It was just a part of my life from day one.

Neff: Where are you from originally, for those people who don’t know?

Reddick: Corning, California, which is two hours north of Sacramento, way up there. I was born in Redding, which is 30 minutes north of Corning. That’s way up there by Mount Shasta. Basically really close to Oregon.

Neff: How did you get hooked up with the Broken Bow Records guys? They seem to be backing you in all of your racing.

Reddick: Broken Bow Records has been a part of racing for a long time. My Grandfather owned a dealership for a couple of years and got into the record business as a hobby. It turned into something much more serious than that. I’ve been very blessed to have backing and support since we started racing Late Models. I definitely couldn’t have made it this far without them. Definitely couldn’t have made it anywhere without them. Without the support of such a great sponsor and my family I would probably still be racing go-karts in California.

Neff: You talk about racing go-karts in California. You’ve helped with the migration of Winged Mini Outlaw Sprint Karts from the West Coast to the East Coast. What kind of challenge is it to drive those 500CC Open Mini Outlaw Sprint Karts?

Reddick: They were just a handful to race growing up. Things happen very quickly in them. They have the same power-to-weight ratio of a full-size Outlaw Sprint Car. They’re fast and they get with it pretty good. That’s where I learned my car control and I think that is where Larson learned most of his too. They are a handful but they are really fun to drive.

Neff: Did you race against Larson when he was running around out there in Chico?

Reddick: Oh yeah, almost every weekend. Until he got out of it. I got out of it shortly after he did. We raced around each other a lot.

Neff: Did Larson beat you more times than you beat him?

Reddick: I didn’t race head-to-head with him a whole lot, but quite a few times. It was pretty even but I’d say I beat him more than he beat me. If you ask him he’ll say the opposite.

Neff: Since you have a record sponsor, what kind of music do you like?

Reddick: Most anything really. Anything that sounds good I like it. It doesn’t matter what it is.

Neff: What hobbies do you have outside of racing?

Reddick: There are a couple that I’ve picked up in the last year and a half. Running is one. I’ve yet to get a bike but I do love to ride bikes. I need a road bike. A future hobby, that I haven’t done in a while because I went racing and never got to do it a lot is swimming. It is another thing I like to do I just haven’t had the time for it.

Neff: Some car guys like to collect cars and memorabilia. Is there anything that you like to collect?

Reddick: When I was five I collected Hot Wheels. Who didn’t collect Hot Wheels? I don’t really collect a certain item. I did the Hot Wheels because that is what every little boy collected. I don’t feel like I collect anything else of that nature, except trophies.

Neff: What is it like having Brad Keselowski as a boss?

Reddick: Expectations are high for sure. He’s the man this year. He’s in a position to win the championship again. Having someone like that and Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano and drivers of that nature in your camp to learn from and ask questions of is a lot of help for sure. Especially learning these new tracks.

About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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If there is anything that resonates with what is left of the NASCAR fan base it is Japanese Truck Racing. Especially if dominated by one Cup driver with a personality disorder and superior equipment. Don’t believe me? Look in the stands, full to capacity with fans. I mean who doesn’t love a non race with a predetermined outcome. Add to that the excitement of an interview with some poor kid with about as much chance of winning as Hillary Clinton has of making the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. The modern NASCAR experience what more could you want?

John McCarthy Sr

John Q. You will be taking those words back because I have watched this young man run along side top drivers and beat them as well as not taking anyone out. You must not have watch the talented young man drive.

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