THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winner of today’s Hollywood Casino 400, Tyler Reddick. Tyler, that No. 45 Money Lion Toyota was nothing short of a monster on that final restart. What a restart you had there. Walk us through that final lap.
TYLER REDDICK: Well, when I was talking to Claire a little bit earlier, actually I don’t even remember the restart. It just kind of happened. A lap went by and I was in the lead, and I was like, I’ve only got one lap left, so unless someone can show me — I can remember getting to the inside of Kyle and just pushing. Everything happened so fast, and I just kind of went for it, and it worked.
Q. Does that happen to you a lot when you’re going for wins? It’s all instinct, you don’t take much of it in, or was this a weird circumstance?
TYLER REDDICK: I mean, like COTA, I can remember every minute of it. I think just here in this case, I guess I really didn’t think, I just tried to find —
I made that move unsuccessfully earlier in the race against Kyle and Chase, but the fire-off — I was worried Daniel wasn’t going to get a great launch, but he did, and Joey pushed well, and I think I got a little help from behind me, too, that got me going because I kind of mistimed it. But Joey started messing with Daniel, and I just found a hole up a lane and took it and I had four tires and the cars I was racing had two, and Daniel was on no tires, so just worked out.
Q. Billy was talking about the family-like atmosphere at 23XI. How much has that helped you this season and your progression and success overall?
TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, Billy basically has to babysit our entire team. Me and Rambo hardly take things very serious. We all get along great, but more times than not, it’s pretty difficult to get us to kind of focus. But Billy does a great job of taking everything very seriously and helping us focus on what we need to.
Just the whole dynamic of the group really from day one I’ve really enjoyed, and it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that last restart. We’ve put ourselves in contention at times, and it’s nice these last two weeks to really capitalize and get some good finishes.
Q. Is it a stress reliever to get this win out of the way to for sure lock yourself into the Round of 12 with Bristol coming next week —
TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, because the last few years — really last year was the heartbreaker. Two years ago we just weren’t great, and we went into Bristol and missed it by a couple. But last year we had those wins. We come to this race a year ago and have a flat while leading and fall out very early. So we went into Bristol in a bad spot and then got caught up in a wreck.
Yeah, to be able to have a lot of points scored — I’m sure even if we didn’t win today and finished second or third, we would have had a lot of points to lean on going into Bristol, so that was just the goal all along. I want to win races, but we don’t take to take the risks in the first round.
I think as we keep going along and we get further in and we don’t have the points to start that some of the cars at the very front of the leaderboard do, we’ll have to get more aggressive, but it was very nice to get five playoff points today and gain a few more as we go on to the next round.
Q. I assume that’s the game plan going into Bristol, try to get as many playoff points and points in general going into the next couple rounds?
TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, that would be great, but all focus is on trying to — I guess nothing really changes. Like we’re going to go into Bristol preparing this week coming up, trying to make our car as fast as possible, for me obviously, but for also trying to get everything we can to help the 23 team out.
Hopefully we can go in there with a lot of speed and contend.
Q. There was no questions about your team having speed, but people — there were so many mistakes in the regular season, it was like how far could they really do if they do this kind of stuff in the Playoffs, and through two weeks you guys have matched your speed with your performance. Was there any sort of pre-playoff conversation or talk like okay, let’s all make sure we’re on the same page and clean everything up now? How have you guys been able to execute so well?
TYLER REDDICK: Well, I think the speed that we’ve been bringing makes things a lot easier, so I think for all of us, with the speed that we bring week in and week out, especially in this first round, we can to a degree kind of afford to — I love racing at 105 percent, but like I don’t know if this is the time to do it right in this first round. You get an overtime restart, go for it, right. But try and minimize the risk just a little bit.
Like I said, I think we have enough speed. We should be able to make it through this first round, and winning certainly helps that.
But I think for all of us, just pull it back a little bit, let’s have some consistent days. We have enough speed to still get points, and we’re working on that.
So I think we go into the Round of 12, we pick it up just a little bit, and as we keep going, we’ll just keep amping it up if we have to.
Q. Drivers who make comparisons from Kansas to Michigan, and Michigan was one of those races where you were also in contention to win before. To capitalize on the speed you had today, and Bubba was running second when he had his issue, too, 23XI as a whole seemed to execute as best as it could control today. What does that set up the team for through this playoff run?
TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, I mean, the speed is the hardest piece of it all. We’ve been doing a really good job of that.
We’ll just keep rolling along. I’m sure you guys know — where is Bubba sitting on the cut line right now? Minus 19, so I would love for both of our cars to continue on.
Like I said, just the more that we can — just the whole organization keeping in the playoff mindset, that’s going to be good for us, keeping us both up in the mix. Obviously if things don’t work out, nothing is going to change with that group. They’re going to keep pushing like they have all year long.
But the more cars in our organization and stable we have in the Playoffs, it’s certainly going to help our odds as we get closer to Phoenix.
Q. You mentioned earlier your flat while you’re leading. With Bubba having his flat and potentially having a chance to win back-to-back years here at Kansas, what’s something you could tell him to help him deal with the situation?
TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, we’ll definitely talk about it tomorrow on our debriefs. But I think there’s been some things that I’ve been through last year that may help just everyone understand maybe what exactly happened. I had a lot of flats last year.
I hate to see that for him. Goodyear has done a really good job of fixing a lot of the issues that we had with the tire last year, but unfortunately as we get getting more and more speeds out of these cars, the forces through the tires just keep increasing, too.
I hate to see that. They had a really solid car. They would have certainly contended the rest of the day, as well.
Q. Denny has been talking a little bit about the year about trying to help you run more complete races because you start out the weekend so fast but just getting the finishes you deserve. You’ve got a 2nd and now a win in the Playoffs. I wonder if there’s been anything different in preparation or knowing what adjustments to make or how Denny has helped you get to that step.
TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, I think when the Playoffs get here — I’m not going to lie, I love running well. I get more obsessed with spending time in the simulator, whether it’s at our shop or at TRD in Salisbury. We just amp everything up. I don’t really get burned out really, but you don’t want to overdo it in the regular season. Things become kind of tiring and very routine when we get to the Playoffs.
I think everybody has been equally motivated to put in the extra work as we got to the Playoffs on both cars, and it’s been working well. We’ve been doing a really good job of bringing the cars really close balance-wise from the simulator to the racetrack, and all the work that everyone at TRD does really helps us on our end to have that speed that we bring to the racetrack every weekend.
Q. You mentioned the end of the race, but you were up among the leaders the whole afternoon. How much fun or how comfortable were you in that car because they were never really out of your reach. So were you having a good time out there thinking I’ve got the speed, and then at the end you beat the boss. How much fun is that?
TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, I enjoy that. That’s the one tricky part. You race against your boss, and we all share — all the Toyota drivers in our alliance with JGR, we share a lot of information back and forth, and it benefits us all greatly.
I know that definitely talking with them, he was, I think, better than I was at the end of the race. It’s just circumstances played out in a way to where I was able to get a better restart.
But certainly it is fun to beat the boss. Obviously I think he’s got a couple more playoff points still banking on, but him, Martin and Christopher, we all really share a lot of information back and forth, and ideally we’d love to fill the Championship 4 with Toyotas and may the best man win. But it’s a long way out, but we do a lot of great work together, and I’m really glad we have the teamwork and the partnership that we do because when we get to Talladega a little later on, us being able to work with each other will be very beneficial.
Q. Can you take us through that last pit stop? You came across the pit exit four wide with the 9, the 5 and the 6, and just take us through all that, and there was some contact. I don’t know if you saw then the 9 after you guys kind of got a little bit clear turn into the 5 and if you saw that and your reaction to seeing that?
TYLER REDDICK: I knew there was something going on down there, but I was focus running my lights and trying to get just ahead of them. Crazy how things work. If maybe they don’t get together, I’m a spot or two back and I’m not in the position I am to win the race.
Just crazy how little the margins are on pit road on the racetrack, how much it can come down to the difference between having a shot to win and looking at finishing fifth.
Q. So you feel like with them hitting each other —
TYLER REDDICK: I think they lost a little bit of momentum. The replay and what you guys see is probably better than what I saw, but certainly I could tell something was going on there, and I think it definitely allowed me to kind of sneak in between them and come off pit road where I did.
Q. What is it about 23XI that has kind of figured out Kansas? Three out of the four have been their drivers and the other one has been their owner. Especially for you, you kind of jumped on board in the second year with this new car. What have you seen that you’ve been on both sides of that spectrum where you’ve been not a teammate of them, seeing them win both races, and then now being a part of the organization winning one of the two races here?
TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, it’s been a process, and over the years here I’ve felt like I’ve had good speed. I think my second Cup start was here and I ran ninth with RCR, this place and myself get along well.
Coming to 23XI and understanding — I kind of had to relook at how I approach this place, and that’s been a process. We came here in the spring.
We weren’t bad, but I certainly wasn’t doing us any favors with my driving style, so it’s just been a process looking at how Denny and Bubba and how Kurt drove this car here to work on myself.
We have been — I feel like the simulator has been very helpful. It always has been for me, whether I’ve been at previous teams or this one.
But just really buying into the process that they have and adjusting what I do on the race car really seemed to pay off a little bit.
It’s a lot of fun to drive these Toyota Camry TRDs. They’re fast. Always have a little bit of pressure when you come here. I definitely felt like I screwed up by not winning the spring race, kind of broke the streak the 45 had here.
Q. How do you do a burnout when your body is halfway outside the car?
TYLER REDDICK: I don’t know. I was sitting — I thought at some point — the tires blew out, and I don’t know, I just felt like doing it.
Q. But I’m missing something. Is your foot still on the —
TYLER REDDICK: Well, yeah. I was like stretched out. I made it work.
Q. I’m not saying you’re short, I just didn’t know —
TYLER REDDICK: (Laughs).
I am a little short, but yeah, I was up against the wall and I didn’t see my car was going anywhere, so I figured I might as well have a little bit more fun with it while I was at it. I was trying to take off and do a little bit more Kyle Larson-esque down the straightaway and I couldn’t figure that out so I just drove to the wall and did what I did.
Q. Is it ironic to you at all that you’re the guy who we talk about running up against the wall and get you make the winning pass on the apron?
TYLER REDDICK: You’ve got to go where they’re not expecting you, right? I don’t know, I think it’s just a testament to what 23XI has going on here. I’ve always been better at running the top, and it seems like more than anything with these cars, I’ve had to kind of change what I do inside the race car, and it’s helped me get better around the bottom, in the middle. Just the cars are really good. I can put it on the bottom, in the middle, I can kind of make my own lanes and make good speed. They just give us a very good handling race car, and it allows me to explore, find the clean air, and carry the momentum.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports