NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick explained earlier this month that his move to Richard Childress Racing gave him “a clearer path” to his ultimate goal: a ride in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Wednesday, at an event celebrating RCR’s upcoming 50th anniversary season, team owner Richard Childress indicated that the first steps on the path to a Cup Series debut may come as soon as 2019.
“Don’t be surprised to see him in a (Cup) car before the year ends,” Childress told NASCAR.com, lauding the 22-year-old newcomer to the team. “We’re just real impressed with him and what he’s been able to do so far in his career. He’s just a great young talent.”
Reddick won twice last season for JR Motorsports, book-ending his oh-so-slim victory in the Daytona opener with a title-clinching triumph in the Homestead-Miami finale. The championship wound up being a cherished send-off gift to JRM as he previously announced his shift to the Childress operation on Oct. 31.
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At the banquet celebration of his 2018 crown, Reddick said he hoped that his full-time Xfinity Series ride with RCR would lead to a handful of starts on the Monster Energy Series side. That would closely mimic the course of Daniel Hemric, who made two premier series starts for RCR last season before jumping to the Monster Energy Series full time in the No. 8 Chevrolet.
“I think Tyler’s always kind of held true to himself about where he was at,” Hemric said of Reddick’s progress. “Obviously, the guy’s an Xfinity Series champion now and rose to the occasion throughout the playoffs, and because of that emotionally and the things he went through throughout his playoff run, I think that prepares him way more advanced than what he would’ve been maybe three or four months ago.
“I think he would sit here and tell you he’s not ready to go full-time Cup racing, and I don’t know if anybody really knows they are or not until they get kind of immersed in it. I know I’m happy to get that shot for myself, but I think if the call comes that Tyler could rise to the occasion and get the job done.”
Hemric knows Reddick’s trajectory well. The two raced against each other in the Xfinity Series for the past two seasons and both were part of the Championship 4 field this year at Homestead. But further back, the two drivers were also teammates for Brad Keselowski’s Truck Series operation in 2016, giving Hemric an even closer perspective about Reddick’s abilities.
“It is a reunion. I actually ran into Tyler yesterday at the shop and to have him back, he’s a huge asset,” Hemric said. “He’s a guy who gets every bit out of his race car, and I learned that being teammates with him at Keselowski’s. Sometimes it got him in trouble, and I was kind of the steady Eddie with consistent finishes, but the days when he was on, he could do just like he did at Homestead and put it to everybody.
“So he has the knack and the ability to reach out and get everything out of the race car. We’ll be able to use that on the Xfinity and hopefully somewhere along the line, he can help us on the Cup side of things. Tyler’s still so young and he’s still got so far to go, but what he’s done to this point is incredible, so I look forward to be able to work with him again and obviously, everybody at RCR getting to know Tyler a little better as time goes because he’s good kid, he’s a racer and he just wants to be the best he can be at it.”