Tyler Reddick led 51 laps during NASCAR’s season opening exhibition. When he was forced to retire due to a mechanical issue, he climbed into the stands and gave a high-five to fans.
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon finished third, salvaging the day. The race was not important, so there’s nothing to see.
Kyle Larson, reigning NASCAR champion, stated that Reddick was not the driver to be ignored this season.
Larson said that Tyler Reddick was going to have an incredible season. He praised Reddick’s leadership during offseason testing.
Larson said, “I feel like I’m watching him when I look at him. He seems even more aggressive than me and keeps things under control.” Larson said, “He’s the guy I see this year that I think is going to have the breakout and win lots of races.”
Dillon and Reddick did not show much in Daytona 500. However, RCR was very good when NASCAR moved last week to Auto Club Speedway, California. Reddick led a record 90 laps on Sunday, a career best for Reddick. He also won the first two stages before being stranded by a flat tire. Dillon finished second to Larson.
The RCR cars look much better now that NASCAR is entering its third race of this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Richard Childress anticipates making multiple trips to the victory lane this season.
Childress stated this week, “I know that we can win,” “We will win.”
Childress, a NASCAR Hall of Famer, has been a Cup Series car driver for 49 years. He won six championships along with Dale Earnhardt, and also won 109 races. The last ten years have been difficult with just four wins in the eight previous seasons.
His grandson Dillon won the RCR win at Texas in 2020. RCR has never been a serious contender for the championship. The organization is optimistic about NASCAR’s Next Gen race car, and the early support from Chevrolet and ECR Engines.
“We tried to be the first to embrace the new car as early as possible. Dillon stated that he believes some teams didn’t embrace the car as strongly as we did. “This new car will level the playing field. This is what it was built for. The same material is available to everyone, it’s only how you put it together and what set-up options you make before you start the race.
“There is a lot of information being learned at a rapid rate right now. We’re trying to absorb all that data as best we can, as our company can, and make the best decisions going in the race so we can adjust and improve our car.
With his win in California last weekend, Kyle Larson, reigning NASCAR champion, took only two races to return to victory lane. He will try to win the race at Las Vegas where he is the defending champion.
Larson said, “Hopefully we get on some streak.”
Larson used streaks to win his first NASCAR title a year back and was the fourth driver in Cup history who won three or more consecutive races multiplexes in a single season. What about the others? Dale Earnhardt (1987), Richard Petty (1967, 1971), and David Pearson (1968) — three NASCAR Hall of Famer.
Larson is the 9-2 favorite Sunday with FanDuel. He has had eight top-10 finishes in his 11 career Las Vegas starts.
NEW FACE ON TOP
Austin Cindric started the season with a win in Daytona 500. He has made it a historic moment. After finishing 12th at California, Cindric held the points lead and became the first rookie to lead the Cup standings in NASCAR history. Cindric became the first rookie to win season-opening Daytona 500.
Jimmie Johnson, seven-time series champion, is the only driver who leads the standings as an rookie. Johnson was however at the top of the standings for just one week during 2002. Joey Logano, Team Penske’s teammate, is eight points ahead of Cindric in the standings.
ENDS AND ODDS
Through the first two races, 19 drivers have achieved a top-10 finish — the highest number of results since 1973. Aric Almirola is only driver to have two top-10 finishes. Bubba Wallace has had the best start to his career, finishing second in the Daytona 500 race and 19th at Fontana. He is currently ninth in the Cup standings heading into Las Vegas, and just 20 points behind the lead. … Grand marshal is Marcus Allen, a former Raider and Pro Football Hall of Famer. Midland, a Grammy-nominated group of country music musicians, will perform a prerace concert on Sunday. Tiera Kennedy will sing the national anthem.