Tyler Reddick Holds Off Cole Custer To Win Back-To-Back Xfinity Championshipsby Hunter Thomas November 16, 2019 0 comments
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – For the second year in a row, Tyler Reddick won the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and claimed the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
Last year, Reddick completed the feat with JR Motorsports, and this year, he piloted Richard Childress Racing’s No. 2 Tame the Beast Chevrolet to Victory Lane after holding off Cole Custer and leading a race high of 84 laps.
“It’s about this race team, man, and I was just honored to pilot this Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet,” Reddick said. “This Tame the Best Chevrolet was just so, so fast, it was as fast as Xfinity internet tonight. Hats off to team Chevy, all those guys for working on this new Chevrolet and all the guys at ECR for giving us great power.”
Reddick started on the pole and raced up front throughout the first two stages, but the race and the championship came down to the final 37 laps, when he hit pit road while leading, and Custer entered right behind him. Custer ended up beating Reddick off pit road, but as the two drivers merged back onto the track, they entered the intense battle for the lead with fellow Championship 4 competitors, Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier.
Reddick made a bold moved and passed Custer for the lead in Turn 1 with just 19 laps to go. Custer fought back and pulled back in front of Reddick in Turn 3, but he lost too much momentum and gave the lead up again as the two drivers exited Turn 4. From that point on, Reddick and Custer battled each other, running inches from the wall. In the end, Custer couldn’t keep pace, and Reddick pulled away to win his second NASCAR Xfinity Series title.
“I wouldn’t say I had it planned out but I made a lot of mistakes around Cole tonight and he wasn’t happy about it, so I knew he was going to race me hard tonight.” Reddick said.
The championship marks the fifth series title for Richard Childress Racing. Throughout the 33 races this season, Reddick captured six wins, 24 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes. He led 484 laps, and his average finish in 2019 was 6.5. Next year, Reddick will move up to the NASCAR Cup Series to pilot the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
As for Custer, at one point in the race, he went a lap down. On the final lap of Stage 2, Custer passed leader Austin Cindric to get back onto the lead lap. Despite hitting the outside wall with just 10 laps to go while trying to keep pace with Reddick, Custer held on to finish second. Custer will also move up to the NASCAR Cup Series and compete for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“I could kind of match his lap time there and studied his in-car all the way coming here trying to figure out how to run the top better, Custer said. “I got close. I tried to find a way to close the gap when I was behind and tried too hard and got into the fence. What can you say? Tyler can just rip the top here. That is all you can really say about it. I can’t thank my guys enough this year. We have had an unbelievable year. It sucks to come home second two years in a row. We will take it. We were a lot closer this year.”
Noah Gragson finished third, followed by Bell, John Hunter Nemechek, Cindric, Brandon Jones, Jeb Burton and Harrison Burton.
Championship 4 contender, Allgaier suffered a flat tire with 12 laps to go and finished a disappointing 14th-place.
Chase Briscoe was named Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
Chevrolet captured the manufacturers championship.
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images