LONG POND, Pa. — Tyler Reddick registered over 50 green-lap passes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pocono Green 250 Recycled by J.P. Mascaro on Saturday at Pocono Raceway and didn’t surrender many positions throughout the day.
He was strong. Really strong, in fact, showing why he’s the series points leader to date. But it all went for naught, as Reddick came one turn short of capping an eventful, resilient day in Victory Lane when eventual winner Cole Custer maneuvered around the 23-year-old for the win.
“It’s unfortunate to work so hard, to be so aggressive to get there, and then give it up on the last corner,” Reddick said through a faint smile. “It’s frustrating. I hate it for our guys. We overcame some issues today. We had the caution there at the end and almost won it.”
Reddick, who entered the day with a 65-point lead over Christopher Bell, time trialed sixth but had to start from the rear –34th to be exact — because of a transmission change. In one lap, Reddick charged to 15th and by the end of Stage 1 he was third.
After restarting 18th on the Stage 2 start, he wheeled to the runner-up position and challenged Justin Allgaier for the stage win, but just couldn’t capitalize. In the final stage, he had to serve a pass-through penalty for an outside tire violation on a green-flag stop, and fortunately a caution that staged a three-lap shootout put Reddick back in contention.
“The restarts were always what you’d expect here at Pocono — people pushing hard, working together up until the last moment when they aren’t,” Reddick said. “Then it’s chaos from there.”
He went from eighth to third on the restart, navigating the scrum that had Allgaier spin around.
This played out for a green-white-checkered finish, as Reddick, restarting third, rocketed to the inside of Custer on the final restart and made it stick for the top spot.
“I felt like I had an opportunity there,” Reddick said of the pass for the lead. “Cole didn’t know where I was going. I had an opportunity to get to his quarter panel, just drove it in real deep and cleared him. Somehow, it worked.”
The move paid off for all but one turn — the final one — where Custer mustered enough leverage mid-corner to bolt inside and by Reddick for yet another last-lap move landing the Stewart Haas driver in Victory Lane.
“Got so tight there at the end of that race, especially on left side tires. It was plowing tight,” Reddick said. “I need to quit giving up last-lap races to Cole Custer.”
Reddick maintains a 77-point standings lead over Bell and a 99-point advantage heading into next week’s race at Michigan.