March 4, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Verizon 200 at the Brickyard

Tyler Riddick scores an overtime victory at Indianapolis Road

SPEEDWAY, Indiana – The NASCAR Cup Series has a new conqueror on the road track.

Tyler Riddick survived a fierce overtime fight against Ross Chastain – who, as it turns out, was under penalty kick for a first corner kick – to win Sunday’s Verizon 200 at Brickyard.

Reddick’s NASCAR Cup Series win at the 2,439-mile, 14-lap Indianapolis Motor Speedway was his second this month, his second in his career and second on the road track.

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There was one fundamental difference between Riddick’s victory at Brickyard and his victory on July 3 at Road America. Between the two victories, Riddick announce Richard Childress Racing will be leaving the 23XI race after the 2023 season.

But Riddick proved on Sunday that lame ducks can still go fast.

“Well, we just know what we’re capable of, and we did it at Road America,” said Riddick, who led 38 laps in the race on Sunday. “Sure, (the announcement) was a little bump in the road, but we went out and won the show and race box a couple of weeks ago, and if we don’t change anything, we just keep working really hard, finding a way to get back to Victory Lane.

“I’m really happy to be able to do it here in Indianapolis. This is a really special place to race, really excited to kiss the bricks a little bit here and really excited because we got (the sponsor) 3CHI win in their hometown.”

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After a multi-car brawl in the first turn sent the race into overtime and dashed hopes of Chase Elliott, who resumed second place alongside Reddick at Lap 80, Reddick lined up alongside AJ Allmendinger to resume overtime.

Lined up fifth on lap 85, Chastain ran wide at the start of the second half and picked his way to get past the corner. He returned to the track after swapping the lead with Riddick throughout the first lap of overtime.

Riddick was shocked to see Chastain’s unorthodox strategy.

“I was like, ‘Oh oh,'” Riddick said. But this was a scenario that was being talked about. If you are bottled, what do you do? Take the access road. I couldn’t believe he beat me. I was kind of waiting to see if he’d get a penalty, because I didn’t want to get him out of the way and make his sweat worse than he was.

“Yeah, I was really surprised by that, but we made it work. Hats off to Ross for trying to do this, but I’m really glad it didn’t end, because I was so pissed off.”

NASCAR frowned at Chastain’s stunt and evaluation A 30-second penalty dropped him to 27th at the end, lifting Daytona 500 winner Austin Cendrick to second place.

“I’m just trying not to be a mess out there in the first turn,” Chastain said. “I thought we were shown four dimensions, and I couldn’t go any further, and decided to take the NASCAR access lane up there.

“Just pure reaction in there, for our Chevy World Express. I practically took it on the exit, and made it past Turn 1. …Yeah, I just wanted to not get hit, and it merged back where it merged.”

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Harrison Burton came third, followed by Todd Gilliland and Bubba Wallace. The results were the best of his career for Burton and Gilliland, and with Cendrick, it was the first time since 1994 at the Pocono that three starters finished in the top five in a cup race.

(The Pocono’s three buddies are Joe Nemishek, Jeff Burton, and Ward Burton, Harrison Burton’s father and uncle, respectively.)

Despite many early laps, the first warning of an accident in Sunday’s race didn’t come until lap 62, and set the stage for the chaos that followed.

After the green flag pit stop, Riddick had built a more than three-second lead over Christopher Bell when Chevrolet’s Kyle Larson sped out of control into Turn 1 and shocked Chevy Ty Dillon.

He heightened the resulting caution from the court and set up a restart on lap 65 with Riddick in the lead, next to him in the outer lane and Ryan Blaney in third.

The outside lane on that restart and the next two lanes proved to be anathema to the drivers running second. Bell rearranged again in the Lap 65 restart and eventually caused a fourth warning with an inflated front tire that spread debris onto the track.

Elliott, who had been trailing Riddick before that yellow, spun into a three-width sandwich in the first turn with Blaney and William Byron in a reboot of the Lap 80. Defending race winner AJ Allmendinger, who drove his #16 Chevrolet into second despite From the crippled cool suit, he was forced back on the extra reboot and dropped to seventh at the end.

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Blaney was also a victim of the recent restart, spinning in Turn 1 and finishing 26th after spending most of the afternoon in the top five and leading 17 laps, tying for second with Bale. This incident cost Blaney an opportunity to put a greater distance in the rankings between him and Martin Truex Jr.

Blaney and Truex are 15th and 16th, respectively, in the playoff standings with four races left in the regular season. After Sunday’s race, Blaney leads Truex by 25 points.

Note: The post-race check completed without issues, confirming Tyler Riddick’s race win on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.