Tyler Reddick Crowned Xfinity Series Champion With Homestead-Miami Win

by November 17, 2018 0 comments

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – In his final race for JR Motorsports, Tyler Reddick claimed the victory in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and was crowned the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion.

Reddick entered the final race of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series prepared to contend for the highest finishing position of the Championship 4. Reddick sealed the deal by leading 44 laps and soaring to Victory Lane.

“I knew this team could make it to Miami,” Reddick said. “All of our guys at JR Motorsports on this team could make it to Miami, Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, and Michael Annett had good speed all year long. It was just a matter of executing. We had plenty of opportunities to win races earlier in the year and I just didn’t execute. I picked a really good time to decide to win a race.”

The 22-year-old driver of the No. 9 BurgerFi Chevrolet for JR Motorsports earned two wins and 20 top-10 finishes in 2018. Reddick’s first win of the year came in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February. Reddick joins Kevin Harvick as the only other California native to win a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.

“The year wasn’t the smoothest for us, but I knew coming in here if we just made it to Homestead, this is a great track for me, it rewards my aggression,” Reddick said after winning the championship on Saturday evening. “Tonight, we hit the wall a lot, but the car kept in one piece long enough for me to get to the end. These guys worked so hard all year on the BurgerFi Chevrolet. We had to overcome a lot. This year was all about learning. It was an up and down year and with everything we had to do, we had to do it in the Playoffs and it rewarded us with a championship. We can hang our hat on that. I know people will say we weren’t consistent, but we got it done when it counted most.”

JR Motorsports now holds three NASCAR Xfinity Series titles, the first two coming with Chase Elliott and William Byron. Reddick will leave the team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. to race full-time for Richard Childress Racing in 2019.

“There’s a lot of things that I wish ‑‑ I’d love if Tyler would stay or had stayed, but they want to go do something different,” Earnhardt said. “I want nothing but the best for them going forward.  We’ll have fun racing against him next year. I’m sure we’ll be racing him a lot, especially with this under his belt, the confidence and evolution of him as a driver. He’s just going to get better. I bet he’ll be back here at Homestead again.

“It is bittersweet for sure, but if there’s one way to finish it, it’s on top, and by being the champion, and so we’re happy that we’re able to do that tonight.”

Reddick also earned the honor of being named the 2018 Sunoco Rookie of the Year.

The other three competitors in the Championship 4 included Cole Custer, Daniel Hemric and Christopher Bell.

Custer finished second on Saturday, while John Hunter Nemechek finished third. Hemric finished in fourth and Austin Cindric finished fifth.

Bell finished in the 11th position, one lap off the pace.

In the final race of the season, there were no cautions for incidents on the track. The two yellow flags thrown on Saturday signified the ends of Stages 1 and 2, which were both won by Custer.

Custer and his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 00 Haas Automation Ford team won the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Owners Championship, their first in the series.

With new faces in new places, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will return to the track in February of 2019 at Daytona International Speedway to kick off yet another chance for a new champion to be crowned.

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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