All Tyler Reddick did was win Saturday evening at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Reddick locked up the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Regular-Season Championship, taking the honor a season after scoring the series championship in 2018. He secured the title midway through Stage 2 of the Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 30 after a combination of his eight points earned in Stage 1 and the number of early retirees guaranteeing him enough race-end points.
“We just need to be smart about what advantage we have,” Reddick said. “Obviously, if we can go out and win a race and take care of business and not have to worry about the final race, that would be great.
“We don’t want to obviously give away what we worked really hard for in the regular season. We want to use those points we’ve accumulated well and keep them in our back pocket in case we need them.”
The No. 2 Richard Childress Racing driver also took the race victory in the regular-season finale at the 1.5-mile track, boldly stretching out his fuel to edge out Christopher Bell, who finished second.
“We knew we weren’t going to beat the 20 car straight up tonight,” No. 2 crew chief Randall Burnett said. “We didn’t have the speed. At that point, we didn’t have anything to lose because we had already clinched the regular season with the stage points we had gotten.
“We were like, heck, may as well have fun with it and try it. Probably won’t be that aggressive in the playoffs, but you know, if need be, we will. It’s just kind of circumstantial.”
Clinching the regular-season title hands Reddick a 15-point bonus heading into the seven-race playoffs that begin Sept. 20 at Richmond Raceway. The top-10 finishers in the regular-season standings receive bonus points on a sliding scale, starting with 15 for first and ending with one extra point for 10th.
The bonus inches Reddick closer to the total playoff points Bell and Cole Custer will carry entering the playoffs. Both Bell and Custer have six wins apiece this season to Reddick’s five. Bell is the first seed with 2,055 points, while Reddick and Custer are tied for the second with 2,044 points.
After his title season with JR Motorsports, Reddick moved over to Richard Childress Racing and hasn’t missed a beat. Already in 2019, he has more wins (five), top fives (20), top 10s (22), laps led (448) and poles (3) than he had all of last season. The 23-year-old California native has sat atop the point standings since the fourth race of the season at ISM Raceway.
Last season, Justin Allgaier scored the regular-season title. In 2017, Elliott Sadler took the honors. Neither driver went on to score the championship.
Contributing: Chase Wilhelm from Las Vegas