by Bob Bocras
NASCAR FOX Sports writer
Bristol, Tenn – Tyler Riddick He chose a theme song for Driver’s Introductions at Bristol Motor Speedway to match the drama around him.
As he came out to “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, it was a subtle acknowledgment of the twists and turns in the way his off-track season developed.
Riddick had one of his most frustrating weeks in 2022 losing his 2023 crew and losing his 2022 championship chances in five days.
The 26-year-old driver announced in July that he would be leaving Richard Childress Racing after the 2023 season. Childress, the team’s owner, was not happy that Reddick informed him of his decision just an hour before it was announced.
The scorned Childress applauded on Tuesday when he announced that Riddick’s crew would be used by Kyle Bush The next year as the two-time Cup champion was hired to replace Riddick, a year before Riddick was ready to leave.
Tyler Riddick on losing his crew next season
Tyler Riddick discusses losing Team #8 next season – if he’s in fact competing for the RCR in 2023.
Childress has pledged to charter and operate a third car for Reddick, with more details coming later this month.
But for Riddick, it had to hurt. All he’s talked about over the past two months has been racing as hard as he can until the end of 2023 with a good crew working with him.
He appeared to be doing so on Saturday in Bristol before he got into an accident that hit his car so much that it needed extensive repairs on a pit road. He ended up failing to advance to the next playoff by two places.
“I saw the crash happen,” said Riddick, who had a puncture and crashed a week ago in Kansas to put him in the elimination bubble entering Bristol. “I checked. I just got run over… We had two bad races – bad endings.
“We had two really good race cars [the past two races] We didn’t take advantage of it and that was enough to miss it.”
Reddick knew he wasn’t in control of his destiny during the final stage as he was 30 laps and needed others to drop to earn the points he needed to progress.
“It feels terrible,” he said. “It’s out of your control…Hoping for other people’s misfortune is really no way to race.”
Now Reddick must navigate the next month, possibly more, knowing that his future is somewhat out of his control.
“He said he had a plan, he had the details for me, so we’ll see what it is when it’s time to talk,” Riddick said of Childress.
Childers said hiring Busch to replace Reddick facilitated the crew’s decision because it would hurt Busch to have one crew in his first year and then a different crew in subsequent years.
He told Reddick about the crew change for next year, probably not ironically, about an hour before Busch’s hiring was announced.
“It wasn’t tense,” Riddick said. It was filling me [in on] what was going on. I get that because I’m moving on. everything is OK.”
Tyler Riddick talks about his future with RCR
Tyler Riddick talks about his meeting with Richard Childress last week, his feelings about not knowing his crew (or maybe even his squad) for next season, and if 2023 will be an elusive year for him.
Riddick refused to engage in a war of words in the media with his car owner.
“I looked at it from a business standpoint, and I feel like they’re handling it with Kyle coming in and being with Team Eight. They’re looking to the future and what will be best for them in the long run,” Riddick said.
“I’m sure how people might think it’s personal, but I don’t look at it that way.”
Working with a new crew next year will be nothing new for Reddick. He has driven seven different institutions in the Xfinity Series (three on a regular full-time or part-time basis and four for some select races only).
What he doesn’t want is for 2023 to become an unattainable year of sorts.
“It has to be together…because I work hard and I really want it,” Riddick said.
Few doubt that Riddick won’t continue to race hard. It’s the only way he knows how to race. He is a competitor at heart.
“He’s doing a really good job of tuning things and going to work,” said his current teammate. Austin Dillon. “You can’t deny the speed of Tyler Riddick every weekend.”
Austin Dillon on Tyler Riddick Keeping Focus
Austin Dillon said he has no concerns about Tyler Riddick’s focus on racing amid the knowledge he will lose his crew to Kyle Busch next season.
It would obviously make things easier for everyone involved if Reddick could land at 23XI Racing a year ago. It can happen if Kurt Busch He’s not coming back after a concussion has kept him away for the past two months.
Denny HamlinCo-owner of 23XI Racing, said he wouldn’t push Bosch to make a decision. He had no doubt that wherever Riddick landed, he would race hard.
“One thing we’ve seen over the past two months is that Tyler Riddick has continued to be a professional,” Hamlin said. “He gave his team 110 percent…no matter what circumstances were thrown at him, I’m pretty sure he’ll maintain that level of professionalism and take it step by step.”
His rivals are certainly aware of his situation and wonder where Riddick’s loyalties will be for the rest of the season. He showed a few weeks ago at Daytona that he’s still a dedicated RCR driver as he helped push Dillon to the win to lead him to the playoffs.
“He has to make his own decisions about what to do, but I’m sure it’s a bit embarrassing for him,” said the former cup champion. Joey Logano. “Who knows? I think it’ll be embarrassing for next year, too.”
This is exactly the question. Who do you know? Riddick indicated that he does not.
“It’s out of my hand,” Riddick said. “As I have told everyone, I plan to finish what I agreed to do at RCR.
“I want to see it through to the end, whether this is an 8 or whichever car it will be.”
think out loud
There was a lot of chatter in the NASCAR Cup Series garage wondering if the tires could handle the loads in Bristol. Teams noted in some of the manufacturer’s tests that the Bristol track presented unique challenges.
It was frustrating to watch that come to fruition on Saturday night as several drivers had tire problems.
Matching a track tire to the car is always a challenge for Goodyear, regardless of whether the car is new or the racing surface is new.
Just like a racing team that doesn’t always get it right, the same goes for Goodyear. When it’s a three-race playoff, though, the spotlight and scrutiny heat up.
Goodyear and NASCAR have shown that they will react and work to find a better tire for the next race. The good thing about Bristol is that they have several months to find out because next year’s spring race will be on dirt that will cover the concrete surface.
222 races between victories Chris Bucher He is the second-most of all time behind Bill Elliott who scored 226 starting points between wins from 1994 to 2001.
they said that
“This is my favorite racetrack – I’m not saying that because I’m sitting here in Bristol. I’ve had trouble at so many different racetracks for saying that on their stages beforehand and yelling at me, but it’s the truth.” – Chris Bucher
Bob Pokras covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He’s spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @Popocrasand subscribe to Newsletter from FOX Sports NASCAR with Bob Pokras.
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