BRISTOL — Tyler Reddick wasn’t allowed to qualify for Friday’s Food City 300. Six hours later, he parked his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in victory lane.
The defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion had to start 38th at the start of the race after his car failed pre-qualifying inspection and wasn’t even allowed on the track for time trials. Car chief Cam Strader was ejected from the track and the team was docked 10 points by NASCAR.
No problem for Reddick, who drove from the back of the field twice for his first win at Bristol, his fourth victory of the season and the seventh of his career.
Battling to the front after a late-race restart, Reddick made the winning pass when leader Justin Allgaier’s car cut a tire and shot up into the turn 2 wall with 11 laps to go.
“I’m speechless. I couldn’t believe this happened,” Reddick said. “I fell back to fourth. The 19 (Brandon Jones) drove it into the fence and then the 7 had some sort of issue. Everything that happened to this team, I’ve got to dedicate this win to Cam, our car chief. He got sent home. We had some issues in tech, nothing crazy, but I hate he couldn’t be here for it. I know he’s at home celebrating.”
So was the rest of the No. 2 Chevrolet team. Reddick spun on the final lap of Stage 1 trying to get the lead away from Allgaier, allowing Jones to get by both for the stage win. At the end, it was Reddick they were all chasing.
Included in that mix was Chase Briscoe, who scored a career-best second at Bristol, but was frustrated not being able to capture the win.
“We had such a good Ford Performance Mustang and that last restart, I just didn’t fire off good,” Briscoe said. “I was really, really loose getting in and then I would get really tight. Those last five laps, it finally started coming to me and I was definitely running him down and just ran out of laps.
“That one stings. You don’t get very many opportunities to win at a place like Bristol and I really want to win here bad — and at that point it felt like we had a Mustang to do it, but just didn’t get it done.”
John Hunter Nemechek, who had to start in the rear of the field like Reddick after his team made unapproved adjustments to his No. 23 Chevrolet, finished third.
Jeremy Clements (fourth), Austin Cindric (fifth), Gray Gaulding (sixth) and Timmy Hill (seventh) all posted career-best Bristol finishes.
Allgaier came in eighth after the late-race heartbreak.
“The right front tire went down. It’s disappointing,” Allgaier said. “There was no way those guys were going to catch us. It’s so much fun to race at this track, but the emotion tonight is so hard. We led 329 laps this year in the two Bristol races and don’t have a win to show for it.”
Michael Annett and Landon Cassill rounded out the top 10.
Cup Series drivers Joey Logano and Erik Jones, along with Xfinity Series leaders Christopher Bell and Cole Custer, were all collected in a lap-37 accident. Logano, driving the No. 12 Ford, was frustrated after the early exit that left him with a 36th-place finish.
“Typical Bristol crash. You see them wrecking in front of you and you’re on the brakes as hard as you can and they just keep piling in and you can’t stop quick enough,” Logano said. “Some of that comes from a poor qualifying effort and from that you get caught up in things. We weren’t that far back from starting 19th. We were picking our way through there, but it just happens.”
The race became more wide open when Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota suffered a blown engine at the end of Stage 2. Smoke trailed from the back of the car and Busch went behind the pit wall during the caution period. He led two times for 136 laps up to that point.
“It just all of a sudden started about five, six laps before the stage ended,” Busch said. “Coming off the corner, I got back into the gas and it broke and just tried to limp it home. That was all she had. Tough day for our Juniper Supra. It was really, really fast. It was really, really good.”
Cindric, winner of the previous two Xfinity Series races, turned a lap of 15.655 seconds and 122.568 mph in his No. 22 Ford to edge Busch for his second straight pole position. It was his third pole of the season and the sixth of his Xfinity Series career.
Knoxville driver Chad Finchum failed to qualify for Friday’s Food City 300. He had the 34th fastest qualifying time at 16.573 seconds (115.779 mph), but was bumped out with five drivers making the field on owner’s points.