Tyler Reddick didn’t just win his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race – he decimated it.
Reddick took the lead early in the final stage and never saw a challenge as he won Saturday night’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway by more than 14 seconds ahead of his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Brennan Poole.
Not only is it his first series win in 15 starts, Reddick’s 66 laps led were his first of the 2017 season.
“It’s a great feeling. This track was one of my favorites in the Truck Series,” Reddick said in Victory Lane. “I hated to see it repaved. I was really worried the racing would be difficult. I think tonight proved that it doesn’t matter the circumstances, if you try hard enough you can make the track racy.
“Our car was just really good off the corners. We were able to get underneath people to pass them. I’m very fortunate to have a car that had the strengths where it did, made my job a lot easier.”
Reddick, who will run full-time in the series next year with JR Motorsports, said he believed it would only be a matter of time before he visited Victory Lane.
“This team has won three times (this season) with Kyle Larson in the car. Big tracks or small tracks, the cars are really good. This has been a learning process for me coming from the Truck series,” he said.
“Those things have a lot of downforce and these cars don’t have it. In the race here in the summer, we were fast as well but made a lot of mistakes. I just raced a lot smarter this time.”
Justin Allgaier rallied from two laps down to finished third, Ryan Preece was fourth and Cole Custer, who won the first two Stages, completed the top-five.
Poole was the highest finisher among the 12 playoff drivers.
Custer dominated much of the second 45-lap segment and claimed the Stage 2 victory over Reddick.
Daniel Hemric finished third, Preece fourth and William Byron completed the top five. Allgaier, who rallied back from two laps down after a Stage 1 incident, made his way to 11th.
During pit stops between stages, Preece came off pit road first followed by Allgaier and Ben Kennedy. Elliott Sadler stayed out and inherited the lead to begin Stage 3.
Angela Ruch spun off Turn 4 on Lap 73 to bring out the first caution in the race for an on-track incident. Allgaier was beneficiary of the free pass and returned to the lead lap.
On Lap 53, Sam Hornish Jr. hit the wall off Turn 2 in an incident that also saw Brandon Jones involved. Hornish eventually pit under green for repairs by his Team Penske crew.
Custer ran Kyle Benjamin down and took the lead with four of 45 laps left in the first segment and held to claim the Stage 1 victory.
Reddick ended up second, Benjamin third, Preece fourth and Poole fifth.
The stage win was the first for Custer this season.
During the pit stops between stages, Benjamin took only two new tires and came out the leader, followed by Custer and Hemric.
On Lap 19, Allgaier fell off the pace with an apparent right-front tire issue. He was forced to pit under green. He returned to the track in 36th place and two laps down. Just a few laps earlier, Allgaier had radioed his team, “We got a big problem here.”
Allgaier’s team said they discovered a hole in the right-front tire.