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Conceited Tyler Reddick Steals Michael Jordan’s Victory, Taking Credit for Solving Bubba Wallace’s Biggest Obstacle

Published 10/08/2023, 4:37 PM EDT

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The 23XI Racing duo has been tearing up the track this season. Bubba Wallace has clawed his way into the playoffs, clinging to his dreams by the thinnest thread. His partner in speed, Tyler Reddick, has been a force to reckon with, consistently delivering top-notch performances. While the Joe Gibbs stable has often dominated the Toyota headlines, the 23XI pair has also made their mark in the camp. With a brief history in this sport, Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin-led team has made their presence known, securing wins and pole positions.

As the NASCAR crowd gathers in North Carolina for the Round of 12 elimination at the ROVAL, Reddick’s eyes are fixed on the prize. He’s banking on a solid finish or a victory, aiming to seal the deal and race into the coveted Round of 8 like a speeding comet.

Michael Jordan’s thunder stolen amidst Reddick’s road to playoff glory

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As the sun began to set on Saturday, the stage was set for a Sunday showdown at the 17-turn road course. Reddick and Wallace had a triumphant Saturday that could be the key to their playoff hopes. Reddick’s sixth career pole position and Wallace’s impressive P4 qualifying performance radiated confidence.

Their stellar qualifying performance and conviction this weekend was a welcomed surprise, given the high-stakes battle they face ahead. Both drivers are perilously positioned below the daunting cutline, staring elimination in the face. Reddick finds himself on the brink of the Round of 8 entry, standing at P9 in the standings, just two points shy from advancing. In stark contrast, Wallace languished at the bottom of the pile in P12, a daunting 10 points adrift of the gateway to the Championship 4.

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In the pre-race press conference at Concord, Reddick when asked about the source of their booming confidence and the root for the impressive improvement from the No 45 team in their debut playoff run. Reddick declared the 23XI team‘s superiority over their 2022 performance, confidently stating, “We got the speed,” pointing to his and Wallace’s impressive stints on the track.

Reddick attributed this to a year-long journey marked by the Camry’s road course improvements, “It’s been there all year. I noticed it right at the beginning of the year coming over to Toyota. Obviously, they weren’t happy with their road course results last year, and they’ve made some huge improvements this year, starting off with our victory at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in the spring.”

Underlining the successful alliance with Hamlin’s team, JGR, the 27-year-old highlighted their collective effort, stating, “Everyone’s efforts at TRD [Toyota Racing Development], and our alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing has been huge. Everyone is doing a great job right now, and all the Toyota Camrys have the speed. It’s great to see. Now, we have to manage this race tomorrow. If I just stick to the simple approach, we’ll be in good shape.”

Read more: Bubba Wallace Delivers Bad News to His Sponsors Amid Big Deal With $180 Billion Streaming Platform

Tyler Reddick’s pursuit of victory against RFK competition

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The pole position was a coveted spot on the grid, an advantage that could make all the difference. Yet, for Reddick and the 23XI Racing team, it was just the beginning of their strategic chess match. They had their sights set not just on the track ahead, but on their competitors as well, and one man stood out among the rest – RFK star Brad Keselowski, who currently occupied the enviable last spot in the grid of 8.

During the pre-race presser when asked, “With you on the pole and Bubba Wallace starting fourth, along with the RFK Racing cars a little farther back, how conscious will you be of them tomorrow?” Reddick deferred to his crew chief, Billy Scott, for strategy discussions. He emphasized his straightforward approach to his job, stating, “Billy (Scott, crew chief) would be better to talk to about that than me.”

The three-time road course winner emphasized his straightforward approach to his job, For me, my job is very simple, to go out and try to put together the best lap in practice and get a read on the car — to see what it like in the long run and go from there to get ready for qualifying. So, for me, no matter how the race plays out, I go out there and try to nail every comer and lap. And if I make a mistake, try to minimize the time loss. These are the things that us and all of the other teams will be focusing on.”

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As he succinctly puts it, “No matter if the strategy changes, my job doesn’t.” With just hours on the clock for the green flag to wave at the Charlotte ROVAL, fans around the world will be watching closely to see if Tyler Reddick can rise to the occasion and claim the checkered flag.

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Written by:

Rashi Shetty

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Rashi Shetty is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. Her passion for the world of motorsport extends beyond the thrill of on-track racing, as she finds the behind-the-scenes aspects of car development and sportsmanship equally captivating. Her favorite motorsports moment of 2023 is the NASCAR Garage 56 entry at Le Mans, which she covered extensively at the time.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal