Tyler Riddick raced from Richard Childress Racing to Victory Lane in the Cup Series race at Rhode America after passing Chase Elliott in the final and building the lead by four seconds. He almost fought for the win during overtime, but his teammate took an important step to keep the race green.
Riddick took the lead with two laps remaining, and his goal was to take the white flag. The conversation soon turned to Austin Dillon after cameras showed Frame 3 had a punctured one. There were concerns that the RCR driver would leave debris on the track while trying to get back into the pit road, which would bring out the warning flag.
However, the race remained green, as Dillon found a cut in the wall. He went off track and made sure he’d get a DNF. Although the move also ensured that the race remained green long enough for Reddick to claim his first win in the Cup series.
Childress explained after the race: “In terms of tension at the end of the race, four or five laps left, I said, ‘We don’t need a warning. [Turn] 5 And I said, Here we are again; Here is the warning. But [Dillon] He was able to come right off and save the day for us.”
All the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to Heavy on the NASCAR newsletter here!
Subscribe to the NASCAR Heavy Newsletter!
Driver number 3 could have continued and tried to get to his digging box. Instead, he made a move that benefited the Trophy Chain organization. He went off the track, kept the race under green flag conditions, and helped his teammate win.
Move Hurt Dillon’s Playoff Chances
The decision to pull out of the track and finish 31st helped Riddick secure his first win and a near-guaranteed place in the playoffs. It also negatively impacted Dillon’s playoff chances with a limited number of races remaining in the regular season.
Dillon and Riddick both entered the race at the weekend below the cut-off line, but now the No. 8 seed driver has his place. However, the three-time winner of the Cup Series at Dillon has fewer chances of earning his ticket to the playoffs.
Dillon is now 94 points below the cut-off line after 18 races. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell holds the final crossover spot, but there are three other drivers ahead of Dillon. He also sits behind Kevin Harvick (-20), Eric Almerola (-47), and Eric Jones (-85). The RCR driver is in for a must-have as he heads into a challenging stretch of summer that includes two more road courses.
This isn’t the first time Dillon and Riddick have battled one of the remaining spots on the 16-driver arena. They also did so during the 2021 regular season while vying for points and wins. Neither driver made it to Victory Lane, but Riddick beat Dillon in the final after crashing the last lap at the end of the regular season.
The win was significant to the legacy of the Responsible Communications Officer (RCR)
Before the race at Road America, the two-car team hadn’t made it to Victory Lane since Dillon’s victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 2020. That was the organization’s 109th win while Reddick’s was 110th.
Richard Childress Racing is seventh all-time in terms of wins, and since then the organization has moved one step closer to sixth place. Junior Johnson & Company – 132 wins. Jimmy Spencer was the last driver to transfer the organization to Victory Lane when he won the Talladega Superspeedway on July 24, 1994.
RCR has a significant amount of work left before it can overtake Junior Johnson and Associates and begin hunting down Team Penske. However, Reddick’s ability to win while facing off against powerful institutions creates more confidence about this potential outcome.
read the following: NASCAR legends anticipate some trouble for Atlanta’s return
Heavier on NASCAR news
Load more stories