Analysis: Tyler Reddick carries road-course prowess to Toyota

Tyler Reddick was the winningest driver on road courses in the inaugural season of the Next Gen vehicle in 2022. But with a new team and new manufacturer — one that struggled notoriously on road courses last year — there was no guarantee Reddick’s success would continue.

Reddick left no doubt at Circuit of The Americas this weekend that he remains the series’ current best when faced with lefts and rights.

RELATED: Race results | At-track photos: COTA

Reddick led a race-high 41 of 75 laps at the 3.41-mile course on Sunday afternoon. In six road races in 2022, Toyota combined to lead just 23 circuits — 17 of which came from Christopher Bell at Indianapolis and another two from Bell’s win at the Charlotte Roval in October.

“This whole 23XI team has been working so hard all winter long to make the road course program better,” Reddick told FOX Sports after celebrating with team members along the frontstretch. “Was extremely motivated to come in here and prove that performance, too. Just so proud of this Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD. Toyota, everybody, all the resources they’ve been putting into this to help turn around the road course program means a lot.”

Reddick backed up the dominant pace he showed all weekend long. The No. 45 Toyota from 23XI Racing’s stable was quickest in Friday’s practice session, laid a new track record in the opening round of Saturday’s qualifying session before ultimately earning the second starting spot and set the fastest lap in Sunday’s race at 2 minutes, 12.706 seconds.

Last year with Richard Childress Racing, Reddick scored the first three Cup victories of his career — the first two of which came on road courses at Road America and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 26: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #45 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with a burnout as his crew cheers after winning the NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on March 26, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Logan Riely | Getty Images

The success he found Sunday at COTA should put the field on high alert for the remaining five road circuits ahead, the next coming June 11 at Sonoma Raceway. That road-racing schedule includes the inaugural race on the Chicago Street Course on July 2, along with August races at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen before the Roval appears in the October playoffs.

“Things that we were strong with today hopefully will apply in some ways to those other places,” Reddick said in his post-race press conference. “In no way do we get super comfortable or content with how we do. We’re going to: How could we be better, what things can we clean up. I definitely could have done things better at the end of this race on restarts.”

WATCH: Reddick breaks down late overtime restarts

Reddick also had the advantage of participating in a January tire test with his 23XI Racing crew at COTA, admitting it was a “good sign” to see what progress his team made in the months since. But Reddick hopes his own success can rise Toyota’s tide the next time right turns are on the menu.

“Obviously, I would love to see all the Toyotas get better,” Reddick said. “Certainly, we’re all going to work together, share notes, hopefully get the rest of them up there soon. Good step in the right direction.

“Like I said, it was a really big point of emphasis for myself coming in here to try to help Toyota to get better on the road courses. Yeah, I’d say that was a success.”