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NASCAR: Tyler Reddick wins at Texas while issues plague multiple playoff drivers

Some championship contenders had a rough day at Texas Motor Speedway as Tyler Reddick won on a day where tire conservation was necessary.

FORT WORTH, Texas — A battle of attrition occurred at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday when Tyler Reddick earned his third win of the season.

Reddick led the final portion of the NASCAR Cup Series race and won by a wide margin over 2nd place. The Richard Childress Racing driver took the lead after a flurry of problems took out drivers who looked destined to win.

Sunday's Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 race at Texas was all about survival. Brad Keselowski started on the pole, his first since 2019 and first as an owner-driver with Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, but was shuffled back in the early going. Keselowski finished 8th.

William Byron took the lead from Keselowski and held on to it for much of Stage 1. Martin Truex Jr. brought out the first caution on Lap 40 when he spun in Turn 4. 

Credit: AP
Martin Truex Jr. spins as Daniel Suarez (99) drives past during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Sept 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Randy Holt)

Truex's crash was the first of multiple issues for Joe Gibbs Racing drivers on the day. Kyle Busch spun in a similar fashion once racing went back green a few laps later. The crash ended Busch's day and he finished last in 36th.

Christopher Bell continued the JGR trend later in the race when he lost a tire and slammed the wall. Bell's day ended and he was left to finish 34th.

Alex Bowman had a single-car spin on Lap 97 that damaged his car and trapped him several laps down for the rest of the race.

Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin fought for the win in Stage 1, with Larson edging out the win and securing a playoff point.

Stage 2 saw a number of issues and crashes. Harrison Burton pitted from the lead on Lap 138 after strategy put him in front of the pack for 15 laps. 

A scary incident happened on Lap 168 when Cody Ware crashed hard into the Turn 4 wall before colliding with the pit road wall. Ware got out of his car under his own power but had to be treated by safety workers afterward. He was released from the infield medical center later in the day.

Chase Elliott continued the theme of high-profile drivers wrecking when he lost a tire while leading and wrecked into the wall. Elliott's car came to a rest in the grass near pit road before bursting into flames. The Hendrick Motorsports driver escaped unharmed.

Credit: AP
Chase Elliott's tire burns as he slides in the grass after he contacted the wall during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

After Elliott's mishap, Ryan Blaney led the rest of Stage 2. 

Lightning and rain caused a 56-minute red flag that caused much of the last 100 laps of this race to be run under the lights.

Two more drivers crashed out of the race while leading. Kevin Harvick, who has been vocal in recent weeks about his dismay over how the NextGen car is prone to mechanical issues, wrecked after blowing a tire after leading for nine laps.

Truex clawed his way to the front after spinning out early and led for 15 laps until he too blew a tire and hit the wall.

After the caution was brought out for Truex's spin, William Byron made contact with Hamlin, sending him spinning through the grass. Hamlin was able to avoid any major damage, though. After being spun out, Hamlin showed Byron his displeasure during one of the caution laps by bumping him.

Reddick took the lead after the ensuing restart with about 50 laps left and held the position for about 20 laps before Joey Logano fought to gain the top spot. Reddick only let Logano be in front for one lap, though, before regaining the lead and holding on the rest of the way to earn his third career victory.

Logano followed behind in 2nd with Justin Haley finishing 3rd, Ryan Blaney finishing 4th, and Chase Briscoe rounding out the Top 5.

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It's the fourth playoff race in a row that a driver not eligible to advance wins. Reddick was eliminated from championship contention after not gaining enough points during the Round of 16.

Cautions will be the way most people remember this race. The yellow flag was brought out 16 times on Sunday, breaking the previous Texas record of 13.

The various problems for playoff drivers led to the standings being shuffled completely. Joey Logano currently holds the points lead with a 12-point margin over Ross Chastain. 

The points standings after the first race of the Round of 12 are:

  1. Joey Logano - 3071
  2. Ross Chastain - 3059
  3. William Byron - 3058
  4. Kyle Larson - 3057
  5. Ryan Blaney - 3056
  6. Denny Hamlin - 3049
  7. Chase Elliott - 3045
  8. Daniel Suárez - 3045
  9. Chase Briscoe - 3041
  10. Austin Cindric - 3034
  11. Christopher Bell - 3016
  12. Alex Bowman - 3015

After the next two races, the bottom four drivers will be eliminated from championship contention.

Next week, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the YellaWood 500.

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