Despite Bubba Wallace Falling Victim, Teammate Tyler Reddick Acquits $3.79 Billion Worth NASCAR Partner After Heavy Condemnation

Published 09/11/2023, 7:31 AM EDT

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Rolling the dice with a daring three-wide maneuver, Tyler Reddick seized victory at the Kansas Speedway in the nick of time, clinching his coveted spot in the elite top 12. Meanwhile, his playoff compatriot, last year’s crown jewel of Kansas, was dealt a bad hand, compelled to bow out of the track thanks to a treacherous flat tire that snapped the toe link.

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When the spotlight was on Reddick in the post-race press huddle and he was quizzed about words of solace for his teammate, his response seemed more like sugar-coated diplomacy than heartfelt sentiment.

Throwing a protective arm around Bubba Wallace’s Kansas misfortune, Tyler Reddick speaks out

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As the dust settles on the second race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series, the leaderboard welcomes two definitive names into its top 12: Hendrick Motorsports’ shining star, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin‘s ace up his sleeve, Tyler Reddick. While no one can argue against Reddick’s triumphant ascent, perhaps it was Bubba Wallace, with victory still eluding him, who had his heart set on seizing the Kansas crown. A win here would have been his golden ticket to cementing his position.

Yet, as luck would have it, on the 108th lap, Wallace’s race dreams were punctured, quite literally, as he lost a rear tire from the 2nd spot and kissed the wall. Reddick, when thrown into the media lion’s den post-race and asked about this twist in his teammate’s tale, chose a path less anticipated by NASCAR’s loyal brigade.

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Treading lightly and defending Goodyear, NASCAR’s tire guardian, Tyler Reddick mused, “I think there’s been some things that I have been through last year that may help everyone understand what exactly happened. I had a lot of flats last year, but I see that forum; you know, Goodyear is doing a really good job of fixing a lot of issues that we had with the tire last year.”

Drawing attention to the fact that as these racing machines gain speed, their rubber steeds face increasing strain, he added, “Unfortunately, as we keep getting more and more speed out of these cars, the forces through these tires keep increasing too. So, I hate to see that. They had really a solid car they would have certainly contended the rest of the day as well.”

Watch This Story: How Hendrick Motorsports Alerted Michael Jordans Team of an Impending Crash Involving Bubba Wallace

Though Reddick painted it as a stroke of ill luck, the annals of NASCAR history hint at this being more than just a one-off. While Goodyear has made strides in addressing these issues, the increasing velocity demands a tire that can withstand the heat. Recent times have seen a chorus of drivers raising the red flag, calling out the tire giant for the lapses that have thrown spanners in their race ambitions.

A legacy of NASCAR’s straight-shooting drivers throws hue at Goodyear

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While Tyler Reddick may have taken the high road, opting for a balanced response, NASCAR’s arena isn’t short of outspoken gladiators. Did anyone genuinely believe this arena of fiery racers would stay silent on such a pressing concern?

The rumblings began with Tony Stewart back in the 2008–2009 season, spotlighting the Goodyear tire debate. The torch of discontent wasn’t just held by Stewart but passed down to his own team member, Kevin Harvick, in 2018.

To add fuel to the fire, Dale Earnhardt Jr., the prodigal son of the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series victor, Dale Sr., pulled no punches. On his podcast, he challenged Goodyear’s integrity, musing, “Does Goodyear want a tire that wears out? Is that going to help them sell tires… to mainstream America on the highway? If their tires are literally just falling apart on the race cars, is that good?”

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Well, it looks like the rubber has truly hit the road on this issue. And probably it’s high time NASCAR tackles this slippery slope, be it by steering towards new shores with a different supplier or gently pushing the pedal to prompt an upswing in quality.

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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One take at a time

Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer for EssentiallySports. Her ability to capture the spirit of the exhilarating races and relay the enthusiasm to her readers distinguishes her as a sports journalist. Neha's articles strike a nice balance between technical accuracy and story-telling.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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