“I Wasn’t Gonna Beat Him” – Michael Jordan’s Prodigy’s Dominance at Kansas Stunned Joey Logano

Published 09/11/2023, 2:19 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

One more step into the playoffs and a thrilling evening at the Midwest saw NASCAR’s best battling it out at the Kansas Speedway. Coming out of the 2nd playoff race, 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick punched his ticket to the round of 12 with a narrow win over former champion Joey Logano and Legacy Motor Club’s Erik Jones. With #45 Toyota getting the best of other leaders in the final moments of the race making a three-wide move, Joey’s opportunity to grab the win from the front slipped. He ended up finishing P5.

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Speaking to the media in the aftermath of the race, the Team Penske star disclosed that Michael Jordan’s driver had been too fast for him to try and beat.

Tyler Reddick too quick for former champion Joey Logano

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When the Michael Jordan-Denny Hamlin partnership signed Tyler for their 23XI Racing team before the 2023 season began, the expectations for the driver skyrocketed. Having shown great promise in his climb up the ladder from the ARCA Racing Series, the idea of putting him behind a car as fast as the Toyota threatened contenders and picked the curiosity in the driver himself.

Shortly after beginning his stint with the team, he said, “I’m really, really curious to see what our potential is. We want to make the playoffs. Everyone set a goal for top-10 in points, but we don’t want to be content with that. We want to keep pushing.” Little would he have predicted that he would not only make it to the playoffs but would be giving a champion a run for his money at Kansas a few months from then.

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Going into the overtime restart on Sunday, Tyler had lined up fifth. As Joey Logano and Erik Jones battled at the helm for the lead, Tyler tried overtaking them on the outside but was blocked off by the latter. Using the momentum, he made a three-wide move on the inside and drove past the leaders. He maintained his position there as further drama went on in his dust and took the win.

Talking to FrontStretch’s Stephen Stumpf after the race, Joey spoke about Tyler’s speed and said, “I mean he was coming about 20 miles an hour faster. So it’s either block him and get wrecked. I wasn’t gonna be able to stop him. And I wasn’t going to beat him anyway…”

“Even if I did slow down the 45, he’s just gonna beat me in the next corner. So the only car I could beat was Jones. So I decided to race him and honestly just let him let the 45 go. I couldn’t do much about it anyway.”

Watch This Story: Kyle Busch Exposes Richard Childress’ Flaws as He Beats His Arch Nemesis Joey Logano

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Where do Tyler Reddick and Joey Logano stand in the wake of Monday?

One final chance at redemption awaits the drivers of the playoff 16 to make it to the next round. The ‘Bass Pro Shops Night Race’ will go down at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. As things stand, Tyler has officially made it to the round of 12, courtesy of his win. Despite leading just 2 of the 268 laps at Kansas, the overtime frenzy stepped in and pushed him into the next stage. So, going to Bristol, the #45 driver will race free of the threat of elimination. For 2 time champion Joey Logano, however, that wiggle room will not be available.

He sits just above the cutoff line shouldered by threats from the likes of Kevin Harvick and Christopher Bell. But considering that the driver sat below the line when he brought his Mustang into the track, his current position above it could be considered a positive. Nevertheless, he still has a job to do at Bristol. Speaking to the NASCAR media, he said, “I think we just have to see what we have for speed in our car. (…) We are just a few points over the cutline. So, yeah, we are concerned about it for sure. It’s definitely in the forefront of our mind.”

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Joey’s words reflect the impact that the pace of Tyler’s Toyota had on him. As we face the upcoming break, Joey will be strategizing with his crew to increase his Mustang’s pull for Bristol. After all, it is with this car that he won his championships before.

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Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam

365Articles

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Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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