Late pass gives Tyler Reddick victory in Truck Series race at Dover
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
DOVER, Del. – Tyler Reddick had a score to settle with Dover International Speedway, and on Friday he did just that, winning the Lucas Oil 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in his second start at the Monster Mile.
Reddick passed Erik Jones on Lap 193 of 200 and finished 1.255 seconds ahead of Daniel Suarez, who drove past third-place finisher Jones in the closing laps to take the runner-up spot.
The victory was Reddick’s second of the season in the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford, and in the driver’s view, it atoned for last year’s eighth-place finish, in which Reddick underestimated the physical toll high-speed racing at Dover can exact.
Specifically, his leg fell asleep as the race progressed.
“After what happened to myself last year, not knowing a lot about the g-forces in the corners here—I was kind of green when it came to asphalt racing,” Reddick said. “We had a top-five truck last year, and to have something like that impede our progress in what would have been our first top five… to have something like that mess up what could have been potentially a breakout day for us are the things you can’t have happen in racing.
“I really wanted to come back here and run really strong, just like I want to run strong every given race. But (last year) gave me a little bit of extra fuel for the fire, and I knew I had to run good here—and we did.”
Daniel Henrick posted a career-best fourth-place NCWTS finish in his first race at Dover. Series leader Matt Crafton ran fifth but saw his margin narrowed to 11 points by Reddick, who is second after six races.
Ben Kennedy came home sixth, followed by Keystone Light Polesitter Ryan Blaney, Brandon Jones, Johnny Sauter and Tyler Young. Suarez, Jones, Kennedy and Blaney, who finished among the top seven, are all NASCAR Next alums.
Though Jones, lost one position to Reddick in the series standings, he moved closer to Crafton, now trailing the two-time defending champion by 14 points. Sauter is fourth, 40 points behind Crafton, and could be considered the only other driver within realistic striking distance of the leader at this point in the season.
Like Jones, Suarez used a two-tire call to gain track position in the late stages of the race but felt race traffic hindered him in the closing laps.
“To be honest, I feel like we had a faster truck,” said Suarez, a member of the 2014 NASCAR Drive for Diversity class, who posted his best finish to date in the series. “Traffic was everything. I was talking with my crew chief Jerry Baxter through the radio during the middle of the race. I told him, ‘I don’t care about tires, I need the track position.’
“For sure the track position was very important. Erik Jones he changed just two tires in the last pit stop and he was able to almost get the win and he was driving away, but traffic was a big problem for him and for me and I feel like for everyone. Traffic was something that was a gamble, but overall I feel like we learned some good stuff for tomorrow (in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race).”