Tuesday, Dec 06

Transcript: Tyler Reddick - Indianapolis Motor Speedway

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 8 3Chi Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. You got your second victory of the 2022 season, second win on a road course, too. How good does it feel, and at Indy?

TYLER REDDICK: It feels pretty dang special, I'm not going to lie. The last guy that was up here was about as short as me. That's good. It's pretty special. Yeah, it was very special. I'm not going to lie.

I've watched a lot of racing at this venue as a kid growing up. A lot of really incredible drivers have won at this racetrack, and it's really, really cool to be a part of the group of drivers that have won here, and yeah, I'm really happy about it, and hopefully I'll be racing here again next year -- well, I should be, I guess. I should be racing here next year. But hopefully winning again next year, and I'm excited to race here in some other things, too. I'd love to do that.

Q. You got a great restart at the end. Was that just a matter of your timing, or was it -- AJ was starting to fade a little bit physically and needed some help afterwards from the heat. His cool suit quit working. If you could just describe the restart and the key that that was to your victory.

TYLER REDDICK: Every restart once we had some cautions, they were very important. I'm not going to lie, I saw drivers like Austin Cindric and a few others at the end of practice do some mock restarts.

As the race progressed, I thought I had found the limit on the restart braking zone. It's much different than what the normal braking zone is on a green flag lap.

Thankfully I never overexerted and went past that mark. But we had pretty good brakes on our car all day long, could be pretty aggressive on that front, and was able to defend because of the good brakes that we had on our car and then also kind of be aggressive with the car that we were racing on the front row beside me.

Q. Were you getting a little bit of a push from behind by Blaney?

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, I got a good push on that restart by Blaney. I don't blame him. He was really trying to do a good job of timing the restart to get a good run on me and maybe being able to defend what was behind him, as well. Because of that, the second-to-last restart Chase and AJ got a really good launch because they were committed to pushing, and it got Chase kind of in front of me going into Turn 1, so I had to really nail it on that braking zone.

Unfortunately he got turned around and the rest was history from there.

Thankfully on that last restart he gave me a good push. I was able to fade to the inside. He was getting put in an interesting position by Daniel Suárez, and I saw that in my rear view, and I kind of faded to the bottom with him, so we kind of stayed together and pushed. It worked out really well.

Q. What was your reaction when all of a sudden Chastain goes blowing through Turn 1, and the next thing you know, he's right next to you?

TYLER REDDICK: It didn't seem like real life. I was like, what? I was waiting to see what was going to happen with that situation because I think I had Jim Pohlman say, hey, he's probably going to get penalized. Well, dammit, Jim, like -- Star Trek reference right there. He's going to get penalized isn't good enough. I need to know if -- I didn't know for sure if he was or wasn't.

Yeah, I was trying to race him as hard as I could, but I saw Austin Cindric was right there, and if you get battling side by side in certain sections of this racetrack, you can really hurt lap time on both drivers and allow third place to catch up. It was kind of a complex situation for a couple seconds there, but thankfully I was able to get momentum on Ross in a pretty convenient spot and make the pass for the lead and then check out from there.

Q. Surviving two restarts as you did is pretty darned impressive. Just your thoughts on being able to accomplish that.

TYLER REDDICK: You know, when I was at Road America, it was a pretty straightforward kind of old-school race. Well, we never used to have stages, but if it wasn't for the stages, we wouldn't have had a lot of cautions at Road America, and those were the only two cautions we had, so the race kind of played out naturally.

Because of that it kind of became a race just between me and Chase. As the race was unfolding there, Chase got back to second place and I was kind of curious the pace he was going to run. Right before that caution came out he was running about a tenth or two faster so I was like, this is like Road America again, I'm going to have to push really hard and hope I don't make a mistake.

We didn't; we ran a really fast lap. I think we were about five tenths faster than he was, and it was like, okay, we're in good shape, and then the caution came out. I was like, well, I wasn't prepared for that. I guess I was prepared for it, but I didn't anticipate it.

I had to be perfect on my restart. I kind of had to make sure that I was a little bit aggressive at blocking drivers to the far right going into Turn 1 because it seemed like that would work out in the first couple of rows for those drivers making that move, but thankfully I did and was pretty good in the braking zone to hold them off, too.

Q. This was the first race where the Next-Gen car raced at this racetrack. Comparatively to the other road course races, they all have decent elevation changes. This place is completely flat. I don't know if you knew, but there was a lot of cars just spinning off going all over the place. There were only full course cautions on the last stage, but throughout the first two there was a lot of cars going all over the place. Having driven last year's car and then this year's car at this racetrack, what are some of the big differences? Is this car more difficult to drive, or is it harder on parts? What do you think about this car?

TYLER REDDICK: Well, certainly with this car, the edge is much sharper. It's like a cliff. With the old car it was a bit more rounded. You could get up to that edge and slide past it and bring it back. I think with this car, if you can harness the -- if you can focus enough, you can get to that edge and not crash past it, but it certainly is happening much quicker than it was with the old car for a number of reasons, whether it's the physical body on the car, how it's shaped, there's less quarterpanel, how the diffuser works, and then the sidewall of the tires being different, too, really plays a role in that.

I just think with a flat track like this and how this car gets -- I wasn't in dirty air for many laps today, but certainly there was a pretty big difference whether in clean air or dirty air, so I'm kind of glad we were a little bit on the loose side out front and by ourselves because it allowed us to work dirty air pretty well. These cars are really edgy, and it's very easy once you get past that limit that you just end up blowing past it and spinning out.

Q. (No microphone.)

TYLER REDDICK: I mean, I was pretty loose by myself and I was pretty tight in dirty air. It was a little bit surprising.

Q. This is the first race since the announcement that you're going to Toyota in 2024. Did you feel more compelled -- we know -- that you won.

TYLER REDDICK: Oh, that I won. I guess it would be the third.

Q. Yeah, that you won, I'm sorry I left out a word. Did you feel extra compelled to show Richard you're not laying down, because there was two races before here, but does that give you some, hey, I'm here for you guys to bring home checkered flags?

TYLER REDDICK: I mean, nothing had really changed from the announcement other than knowing where I'm going to be in the next year and a half. My commitment level, if anything, probably is a little bit higher, but I mean, we're not talking like it's a significant amount higher.

I just know that we've had time to continue to work on our cars and make them better and grow as a team and go the right direction, and now it's like, all right, we have a hard stop. This is the end of the road that we have together. For me that puts, I think, a good amount of pressure on me to just keep finding more, because we're always trying to bring the best that we can to the racetrack, but when we know that the end is -- it's not really close, but we know when it's going to be, we've got to take advantage of every single moment possible, and I hope, I feel like at least for me, it's a good thing. I think it really makes me push hard, and I think it's making the team push hard. We're all working really hard together to give it every last ounce that we have out there and win as many races as we can.

Q. He said when I asked a similar question to him, he said he went and talked to the crew of the team and said, he's committed, and then he followed up by saying that you're there next year and obviously y'all are chasing championships.

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, that's what we're going to try and do. It's really nice we won two races this year. We got some good playoff points in our back pocket. We would like to win at other tracks other than road courses, but we'll win where we can for now.

We've certainly had potential to win at a number of places, at a number of different places. We'll just keep working really hard, and hopefully in the coming weeks we can win some more races, get some more playoff points and put our team, points speaking and mentally, confidence-wise, in a really good place going into the Playoffs.

Q. What did it feel like to see Beau run across the Yard of Bricks to see his daddy?

TYLER REDDICK: I'm really glad he was awake. I knew he was going to be awake this time around because we hung out with some 3Chi folks until a little late. Not like crazy late. We called it quits at like 10:30, we had some fun hanging out eating tacos. This is their home track, if you will, their headquarters are pretty close to here. A lot of people that work here are really close to this area, so it was fun hanging out with them last night and getting to spend time with everybody.

I knew we kind of had a late night so I knew he was going to wake up a little bit late, so I knew he wasn't going to get tired around this time, so I knew he was going to be awake this time around. Thankfully he was awake and he was running across the track and into my arms. I was really pumped about that.

Q. How much confidence do you think the Road America win gave you, because to get two wins in a month, let alone get your first win but then to have the second one come within a month, that's pretty sporty. It's almost like the floodgates have kind of opened and things are clicking.

TYLER REDDICK: They definitely are looking. If I'm honest, though, when you look back at the Charlotte Roval last year, we had a great opportunity there, we missed out on it. COTA we were like, all right, here we go, and then it just poured all day on Sunday and we were like -- we didn't know what to do about that, right, so that really threw us for a curve ball. These road courses have been our strong suit for a while now and we've just continued to harness and make our cars better.

Oh, my gosh, we've really been good at a lot of places. I just -- even Loudon, that's probably the worst run we've had in a while, and Loudon we were -- we had a great car but we were just making little mistakes on pit road, and on pit road I was like sledding through a box, trying too hard, and we kept losing like five, six, seven spots because of my mistakes.

We really are really doing a good job right now; we're clicking. I think even on tough days we can finish eighth or ninth, in the top 10. That tells me that we're doing a lot of the right things, and we're in a good place.

Q. I'm curious, I know you guys have talked about getting through the announcement in the last few weeks, and I'm curious, do you feel like you have to prove anything to anybody beyond just proving being a good race car driver, so forth? Have the last three weeks changed anything from that perception or feelings on your behalf because certainly it's kind of been a seismic thing that's happened within the team and the organization?

TYLER REDDICK: I wouldn't say it's necessarily a matter of proving things, it's a matter of this is the time we have left. Like I kind of said earlier, we've been working hard to built to being a race-winning team. Whether that's at short tracks, mile-and-a-halfs, road courses, whatever it may be, it seems like road courses have come our way faster than other places.

For me, I just look at the time we have left, and I know I always give it my all, but certainly knowing that this is when -- this is when the end of the road is going to be, I need to do everything I can to win as many races as possible for this group because I wouldn't be the road course racer I am today if it wasn't for RCR, if it wasn't for the people on my team, if it wasn't for Chevrolet.

I owe it to them. I owe it to my team. I owe it to the people that really have helped me to get that done and go out there and deliver for them.

Certainly if anything it's helped. Just like when Alexa told me, hey, if you win the championship you can name our son, there's not always times when I think I need an extra motivator because I don't know if it's possible or if it's out there, but when I get them, I take it and run with it. For this situation, knowing when my last day will be with RCR, if anything it's probably motivated me more than I thought was possible before all this went in motion.

Q. This is the second year in a row that at the end of the race a car has cut a corner. This situation was different than last year's, but again, could have been a potential for a situation where the presumptive winner gets knocked out and somebody else wins the race. How do you address this situation? Is it something like if you blow the corner it maybe should be just an automatic stop and go? How do you look at it as a competitor? Are you more comfortable with officials having to some degree maybe a little bit of discretion to examine the situation? Does it need to be a hard-and-fast, or are you more comfortable with maybe a little bit more discretion on officials examining something like that? You could have been wiped out and we could be talking to somebody else after you got wiped out by somebody who was penalized.

TYLER REDDICK: Well, I'd certainly like to have this conversation first with NASCAR, then with the media. But I think looking at how today went and how some of our racetracks that we've had the potential trade-offs for cut-offs or blowing through a chicane or whatever it is like Charlotte Roval and what the penalty is or what you have to do is, hopefully we can learn from this situation and try to make the cut-through a little bit slower so the driver doesn't have as much of a time gained.

I don't know, I haven't looked at Ross' SMT but it looked like he pretty much decided that was the route he was going to go, but the ruling by NASCAR is they don't gain a huge advantage or whatever the term might be it's acceptable, and he obviously gained too much of an advantage and it cost him a really solid finish inside the top 10.

It's kind of open for discussion, open for interpretation, right, so hopefully going forward, especially when we come back to here with this track and how that chicane or the cut-through is designed, we can make it to where it's a little bit slower to where no matter if he hit it absolutely perfect, it's costing you at least two, three, four seconds to where this situation doesn't happen again.

I don't blame Ross for making that move because as a competitor, looking at how the rules were set forth, if I'm in a situation I want to do everything I can to win the race. I don't blame him for trying to take advantage of it. It's a shame it went the way that it did.

Q. One team had mentioned to me that they felt like you really wouldn't lose a whole lot if you kind of went through there. They kind of examined it. As part of the pre-race studying that you've done, is that what you guys have noticed, like look, if we have to go through this, we're in not as bad a shape and we can come out --

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, I mean, certainly the amount of cars that were getting wrecked in 1 and 2, the risk is way higher to go through 1 and 2 normally than taking the cut-through. Again, I don't blame him for doing it, but again, it's the rules that were set forth before the race, and somebody was able to somewhat take advantage of it. Hopefully we can all learn from it, make it better. Certainly NASCAR doesn't want it to be the way it was where they had to make a decision and penalize him for what he did.

Q. When did Ross enter your field of vision?

TYLER REDDICK: Right in the middle of turn -- I think it's the apex of Turn 3. I was like kind of cornering, and I heard Derek come on the radio in my ears, like, Don't mind the 1, he's doing whatever he is. Probably said some other not-so-nice words, but heat of the moment, right?

I look over, I'm like, oh, no -- I could say other words, but oh, no, there's Ross, what do I do. He got to my right rear really nice, and as much as I wanted to go through chicane side-by-side with him, I'm like, if I screw up and fly my right-side tires over the inside curb, I could get a penalty. I don't know if I'm racing him, I don't know if I'm not, so it put me in an interesting spot. I wanted to pass him, but I also didn't want to penalize myself trying to get around him. It was just kind of a weird situation.

The way he was behaving in the car driving it, I didn't know if he was trying to motion me by and then I thought he was, and then we get in the corner, I realized, oh, no, he's not. It was just a very weird situation, and then with Austin Cindric as close as he was, it just made the whole situation that much more dynamic. I was trying to figure out how hard do I race Ross, and do I race him so hard that I allow the 2 to get close to us, and just trying to weigh all those things, because if I wasn't racing Ross, he could run in front of me all day long as long as I kept Austin behind me. But if I was racing Ross, I had to get around him, and I just needed to weigh those things in my head, how hard do I race him.

Q. How soon (indiscernible)?

TYLER REDDICK: Well, we got to talk before the announcement was made, but we haven't really spoke much until today since the announcement was made. Thankfully to win smooths some things over, I think.

I've told him that as long as I'm racing here, I'm going to do everything I can to win races for this team, and I would love to win a championship or two with this team. I'm going to be more committed -- I feel like the older I get, you smarter you get, the more you find ways to work really hard, and I'm just going to work as hard as I can for this team because there's a lot of great people on this team, a lot of great people at ECR and a lot of great people not just on my car but at the shop at RCR that work really, really hard on these cars, and they've helped me come so far as a driver. I'm just going to give them everything I've got.

Q. Randall and Richard both said (indiscernible)?

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, no, I got to talk to the team before the announcement was made. Certainly it was tough. I don't think everyone was expecting it or many were expecting it, but again, it was the situation we were dealt. I just wanted them to know that I was going to continue to be committed to them and that I was going to work harder than ever before or work as hard as I have been, because the things that Brian Bottlemate (phonetic), who's on my pit crew, he does a lot of the brake stuff on my car. There's a lot of people that do a lot of different things, not just pitting the car, and all the different people that sometimes come on the road or sometimes don't, stay at home, like they've done a lot to help me get better as a driver, and I just wanted to let them know that I'm going to do everything I can to win as many races as I can with you guys.

I'm looking at this as I don't have all the time in the world to figure out how to be a better driver. I need to be better now so we can go out and win as many races as possible together.

Q. You said you and Richard really haven't spoken much, and winning hopefully kind of is a cure-all. I wonder if you had an opportunity to speak in Victory Lane or anything since then?

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, we got to shoot the whatever they call it and kiss some bricks, drink some champagne, sip some champagne, drink some beers.

Q. Did you say anything to him?

TYLER REDDICK: Oh, yeah. I'm glad to add to his Brickyard collection of rings and wins. He's already had a couple of them before me and I'm glad to help add to that. I want to add to everything I can possible with him before my time is up.

Q. Did it feel normal, like there's no --

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah. Winning helps.

Q. You mentioned at the start of the press conference that you've grown up watching a lot of great drivers win here at this track. Curious to know if winning on the road course today felt any different than you might expect it might have been growing up assuming that if you were going to win here during your Cup career until a couple of years ago that that would have been on the oval?

TYLER REDDICK: I mean, I had a great opportunity in front of me to potentially win here in an Xfinity car. Just didn't work out. I ran second to my teammate Justin Allgaier.

Then the following year, me and Randall brought up a bullet of a race car. I remember perfectly, it was Anderson's Maple Syrup, No. 2, it was fast. It was a rocketship. My and Christopher Bell, like we did most weekends, we were racing really, really hard, but unfortunately this on, we collected each other and we just destroyed our race cars.

It was actually my Homestead car, and I totaled it. That was a tough one to swallow because we had a good car to win there, and totaled my Homestead car.

Side story, we went to Texas later on, and me and Chase Briscoe kind of were battling on a restart and I wrecked. I totaled my second Homestead car the second time, and we had to rush the Homestead car through the doors for the championship weekend, a brand-new third car. I had three brand-new cars all year in that championship season with RCR, and the first one I totaled here, second one I totaled at Texas and the third one thank God survived and won a championship.

Q. You had a lot of restarts today where you were at the front and then you had a lot where you were kind of middle of the pack and we saw those got really crazy. Can you describe what your thoughts are and just the general goal and what you're trying to do to navigate around that big pack?

TYLER REDDICK: I'm not going to lie, I wish I had a switch to turn my camera off on the back of that dang car because I can't tell you how many times when AJ flew up into the sand in Turn 3 and 4, when Chase spun out or I think it was Blaney that spun out on the final restart, I was just like caught looking in the camera like I was a kid watching the best of the best race in front of me, like I've got to drive my dang car. I've got to stop looking at this camera. I wish I could turn that thing off sometimes. It captures way too much.

I would hit a really good corner, but I would get so caught up with what was happening behind me that I would lose track of what I was looking at. I don't know, the camera is great, but sometimes I wish I could turn that thing off because I get too caught up in what's going on behind me sometimes.

Q. When you were leading and on those restarts, did you find yourself looking at that camera a lot, too?

TYLER REDDICK: I mean, yeah, after I've apexed the corner and I'm kind of accelerating and I don't have to -- maybe if I didn't look at that thing at all, I'd run faster laps. But I don't know, I kind of would look in the camera from time to time and kind of gauge my gaps and see every lap, lap after lap, like in Turn 1 or in Turn 13, kind of looking at my gaps, kind of gauging if I've made gains or not. But I have Derek and I have Randall and I have a lot of other great people to tell me what the gaps are, but I still seemingly look in the camera to kind of see myself.

Q. How does that champagne compare to your boss's vineyard products?

TYLER REDDICK: No, his is way better by far.

Q. Even with the late restarts, you basically had in race in check. Did you ever feel like you really didn't have this race in check --

TYLER REDDICK: Every single restart I was -- I don't take anything for granted. I knew I was going to have to work really, really hard on every single restart to win this race, and then when I saw Ross come flying back on the track until that decision was made to penalize him, I didn't feel like I had won it at all, so I just had to go out there and work hard.

Q. With getting the pole yesterday, track position so pivotal, for as good as you are on road courses, I know you don't take things for granted, but did you feel like this was an opportunity to be in control --

TYLER REDDICK: Yes, absolutely.

Q. Explain that mindset going into this event as opposed to if you'd been starting 25th or something like that.

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, I mean, how you approach pit road, how you approach pit road entry. You've got a really great opportunity. Even if you -- the last thing you want to do at a place like this when you have the pole, when you have that great pit stall is go 105 percent on pit road or pit road entry and have a penalty.

Because of the hard work we put in on Saturday, I knew as long as we just played it 95, 90 percent on pit road and pit road entry into the box that -- honestly how with the strategy worked out with the guys I was rating, they were having to stay plugged in longer to get fuel than I was, it kind of worked in our favor to kind of be just on the safe side.

But as I've kind of discovered with this car, I've really pursued getting in the box as hard as I can and then I slide through, but then I'm still a whole pit stop down, and with this car, getting in the box is important, but more than anything, being consistent and stopping a little bit short, that consistency there allows your pit crew to really jump on top of it and really execute a good pit stop.

Q. I know you said you kind of didn't feel like you were in control when you're in the middle of the pack on all those restarts. Throughout the race did you feel like you were only having to worry about maybe a couple different drivers?

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah.

Q. How concerned were you whether it was Blaney with that strategy or was it more about Bell or was there anybody else? You clearly had the best car and it was just a matter of if something didn't happen to you, this was going to be your race.

TYLER REDDICK: I mean, I was a bit alarmed by the amount of people that were able to make the two-stop strategy work. Certainly restarting I think we were in eighth or ninth, I think it was eighth because then the outside row. I was a bit concerned because the first time around when it was just three or four cars that did that, it was pretty difficult to get back to the lead. I in fact never did before the pit stop cycle occurred.

I knew I had to really push hard on that final Stage 3 restart -- the Stage 3 restart we had, not the final restart. I knew I had to be aggressive. I knew I had better tires, and I really had to maximize braking zones to really put the other guys in bad spots, and it worked, but I didn't know which car I was going to be racing, but I just knew whoever got the good restart and got out in front that was on the older tires was the car I was going to have to run down and race, and thankfully I was able to be a little bit better than Christopher was in the braking zones to really not allow the dirty air effect to really hurt my car.

Q. I saw one side of your car, but I didn't see the other. Did you get hit at all? There wasn't any marks or damage that we could see.

TYLER REDDICK: Yeah, I made some pretty significant contact with Cole Custer, and for a couple of laps I was like, oh, no, the car is not driving the same. But I just turned that switch off in my head and just went back to attacking the track. Who knows, maybe we bent something a little bit, but it didn't kill the race car.

The last thing that a driver should do is after contact just jump on the bandwagon of oh, no, the car is ruined, making mistakes, so I just -- made a little bit of contact? Whatever. Just gotta keep attacking and making the most of whatever the car will give you.

Q. Since you brought up the camera, have you thought about some tape and cardboard to cover up --

TYLER REDDICK: Well, there's a dim switch on the camera. I think I could have a dim switch setting to where it's either full brightness or zero percent brightness where it's basically off. I might do that.

THE MODERATOR: Tyler, thanks for coming in, and good luck in Michigan.

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