Race Weekend Central

Stat Sheet: Late Calamity Couldn’t Ruin Tyler Reddick’s Race

Tyler Reddick was the dominant car at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday (March 26), and to say that it wasn’t an easy victory for the No. 45 team would be an understatement.

That’s because the race went to not one, not two, but three overtimes, and that’s not even counting the cautions beforehand. The field turned into a large-scale pinball machine in turn 1, as the drivers kept bouncing, bumping and spinning off of each other.

With a car as good as Reddick had, a late restart would be a stressful and anxious situation for just about everyone, let alone four late restarts. With continued attempts, laps and advancements from cars with fresher tires, it looked like the universe was doing everything in its power to put a different driver in victory lane.

See also
Thinkin' Out Loud: Despite Late-Race Madness, COTA Still Proved Satisfying

Against all the odds, Reddick held on to win. It was his third NASCAR Cup Series victory at a road course and his first at COTA.

It cannot be said enough about how impressive it was for Reddick to hold on. Drivers that entered overtime as the leader were 0-for-3 to start off 2023 and Reddick improved it to 1-for-4. Not just in overtime, but in triple overtime.

Since 2017, when stage racing began, there has only been one other Cup race that had three attempts at overtime: The YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2020. Of course, the driver that would’ve won at the scheduled distance (Joey Logano) was unable to seal the deal.

Reddick managed to achieve a feat that hasn’t been seen in more than half a decade.

COTA by the Numbers

88.2%: Chevrolet’s winning percentage (15 of 17) since August 2019 on road courses heading into this weekend.

  • The only non-Chevy to win was Toyota driver Christopher Bell, who won at the Daytona International Speedway road course in 2021 and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL in 2022.
  • The last time a Ford driver won at a road course was Ryan Blaney at the inaugural Charlotte ROVAL race in 2018.
  • Reddick himself had contributed to Chevrolet’s monopoly on left and right turns, as he won two road course races with Richard Childress Racing.
  • By winning at COTA, Reddick became the first Toyota driver to lead the most laps and win a road course race since Martin Truex Jr. accomplished it at Sonoma Raceway in 2019.

4: The number of overtime finishes in the first six races of 2023.

  • This is the first Cup season since the implementation of overtime to have four of the first six races go beyond the scheduled distance.
    • 2006, 2010 and 2022 each had three overtime finishes in the first six races.

0: The number of Cup races at COTA that have finished at the scheduled distance of 68 laps.

  • 2021 was rain shortened after 54 laps.
  • 2022 was extended to 69 laps with overtime.
  • 2023 was extended to 75 laps with overtime.

38.0: Bubba Wallace’s average finish in the three Cup races at COTA.

  • 2021 was a 39th-place finish after a crash.
  • 2022 was a 38th-place finish after a suspension failure.
  • 2023 was a 37th-place finish after a crash.
  • Needless to say, COTA has not been kind to him.

250: The number of Cup races won by Californians including Reddick’s win at COTA.

  • California is second only to North Carolina as the Cup Series’ winningest state.
  • Jeff Gordon‘s hometown on Racing-Reference is listed as Pittsboro, Ind., so his 93 wins are not included in this total.
  • 27 different drivers from California have recorded a Cup win.
    • This includes races from the 50s and 60s where NASCAR would occasionally have a Cup-sanctioned event out west.
  • Jimmie Johnson (83), Kevin Harvick (60) and Kyle Larson (19) are the winningest drivers from the Golden State.

Reddick is now tied for the 13th-winningest Cup driver on road courses with three wins.

With four laps left in the scheduled distance at COTA, Corey LaJoie and Larson were running two laps down in 31st and 32nd, respectively.

  • Four quick cautions allowed both of them to get back on the lead lap via the free pass, and they went on to finish 11th and 14th, respectively.
  • Ross Chastain stalled his car after a spin on lap 61. With fresher tires and a handful of restarts, he came roaring back to finish fourth.
See also
The Melon Comeback: Ross Chastain Charges Through the Field in Overtime to Re-Gain Points Lead

Jenson Button and Jordan Taylor recorded commendable 18th- and 24th-place finishes, respectively, in their Cup Series debuts.

Saturday Synopsis

Zane Smith has quickly established himself as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ premier road course racer.

  • He’s now won back-to-back Truck races at COTA, and he defeated the Cup drivers of Kyle Busch, Chastain and Alex Bowman between the two events.
  • Since the start of 2022, his road course finishes are first, second, second, first. The runner-up finishes came at Sonoma and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last summer.

AJ Allmendinger now has 11 road course wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, more than double of his closest competition (Austin Cindric and Marcos Ambrose have five each).

Speaking of winners by state, 16-year-old Minnesotan William Sawalich won his ARCA Menards Series East debut at Five Flags Speedway by leading all 200 laps.

  • No one from Minnesota has ever won in NASCAR’s top three divisions. Could he be the first?

Up Next: Richmond Raceway

Ford and Toyota have to show speed here.

  • Since 2009, Chevy has only won five (out of 27) races at Richmond Raceway.
  • Joe Gibbs Racing has traditionally been the team to beat at Richmond in recent times, as their cars have combined to win six of the last nine events.
  • Kevin Harvick won the most recent Richmond race last August in an event where he and Logano combined to lead 277 of the 400 laps.
  • If Chevrolet is to break through, William Byron looks to be the favorite.
    • Byron has the hottest hand to start 2023 at Hendrick Motorsports, and he was five laps away from winning Richmond a year ago until Denny Hamlin got by with fresher tires.

Will Richmond end on a long green-flag run to break the current trend of 2023?

  • For better or worse, Richmond has been known for pit strategy and ending on long green flag runs in the last few seasons.
  • Starting with the first race of 2019, the final green flag run in the last seven Richmond races have been 148, 79, 157, 12, 146, 137 and 144 laps.

Names to Watch

  • Busch leads active Cup drivers with six wins at Richmond. All of them came with JGR and Toyota.
  • The JGR duo of Hamlin and Truex have four and three wins, respectively, at the 0.75-mile oval.
  • Harvick is the winningest Ford driver at Richmond with four. His win at Richmond last August was his first since 2013 and his only one with a Blue Oval on the hood.
  • The Fords of Logano and Brad Keselowski have two wins a piece.
  • Blaney (129) and Byron (122) are the active drivers with the most laps led at Richmond without a win.

Stay Tuned

The Toyota Owners 400 will take place on Sunday, April 2 at 3:30 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by FS1.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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