Tyler Reddick won Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim his second consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
Reddick took the checkered flag ahead of Championship 4 contender Cole Custer for his sixth win of the season and to give Richard Childress Racing, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary season, its fifth Xfinity driver title.
“It’s all about this race team,” Reddick said. “I was honored to pilot this Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Hats off to team Chevy, all those guys for working on this new Chevrolet. I’m losing my breath, I’m that excited. It was really cool to go back-to-back.
“This team, I was a driver that would overdrive and make mistakes. They made me a better driver and were able to close out the regular season title and once we got in here we were in good shape.”
With the win, Reddick became the first driver in series history to win back-to-back championships with two different teams. Last year, he won with JR Motorsports.
Reddick is the ninth driver to win two Xfinity championships, joining Sam Ard, Jack Ingram, Larry Pearson, Randy LaJoie, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Custer did his best to run down Reddick after a torrid battle for the lead with 20 laps to go, but was forced to settle for second.
“I could kind of match his lap time up there,” said Custerm who had to battle back from a loose wheel early in the race. “I got close, I tried to find a way to close the gap and I probably tried too hard and got in the fence. What can you say? Tyler can rip the top here. We’ve had an unbelievable year.”
The “Big 3” this year in the Xfinity Series – Reddick, Custer and Christopher Bell each will be moving up to the NASCAR Cup Series next season.
Bell, who was part of the Championship 4 after winning eight times, made a mistake late when he missed coning to pit road but didn’t believe that was ultimately what kept him from challenging for the win.
“We got beat by 17 seconds there, ultimately it didn’t matter,” said Bell, who moves to Leavine Family Racing for the 2020 Cup Series season. “For some reason, we can’t hit on what I need to get around here for a 30 or 40 lap run…I’m ready for the next chapter.”
Justin Allgaier was the other Championship 4 driver got into the wall late and that took him out of contention.
“I feel like we’ve done a great job over the summer of righting the ship,” said Allgaier, who finished 14th. “The effort we’ve put in to get to this point has been huge. We had a great playoff and to get the win at Phoenix was huge. Just needed to be a bit better tonight.”
Custer, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson and Bell rounded out the top five in the race.
John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, Jeb Burton and Harrison Burton completed the first 10 finishers.
Briscoe and Cindric won the first two stages. Briscoe also took home Rookie of the Year honors.
The 2020 Xfinity Series season opens at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 15th.