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“Just Couldn’t Get Around Him” – Michael Jordan’s Road Course King Admits Defeat to a New Chevrolet Contender

Published 08/21/2023, 2:06 PM EDT

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via Reuters

Despite starting this season with two DNFs, 23XI Racing won at COTA, the first road course of the season. Hence, Michael Jordan surely had high hopes for the driver of his #45 Toyota. However, Tyler Reddick’s Camry was not able to clench a top 3 at last week’s Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Although Reddick flaunted an impressive top-5 finish, he spoke to the reporters hours before the Go Bowling at Glen about how powerless he felt when he had tried to outrun his Mexican opponent.

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Tyler Reddick acknowledged the talent of the #99 driver for the Trackhouse Racing Team and hopes to get a better finish at the Glen.

Tyler Reddick admitted Daniel Suarez’s superiority at NASCAR road courses

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While running the qualifying, the Latino driver ran around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.4-mile road course in a whopping time of 1 minute, 27.968 seconds. Tyler Reddick did not lag behind, as he displayed a total lap time of 1:28.113.

Pitbull’s favorite Speedster seized the third pole win of his career and the first one since 2019 for the Verizon 200 at Indy after beating Tyler Reddick and Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports.

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During the pre-race interview, a reporter asked Reddick if the latter saw his street course prowess translate into the upcoming race at Watkins Glen International. The 23XI Racing driver said, “We definitely had good speed at Indy. We (were) just off the beginning of the race but really, the final half of the race, we were solid.”

While talking about his bout with Suarez, he recalled, “I gave Daniel everything I had and I just couldn’t get around him. We were just really stuck behind him getting held up quite a bit. So, that was frustrating for sure.”

“Certainly I didn’t think we were at our best at Indy and hopefully the lessons learned from there can help us (be) maybe be a little more on top (of) whatever it was that we were lacking,” he added.

Watch This Story: Allegations Fly as Fans Bash NASCAR Over Michael Jordan’s Team’s Uncanny Treatment

Tyler Reddick may have faced these challenges at the 2.45-mile-long course of Watkins Glen

Most of the NASCAR fans would argue that the oval tracks are way more dangerous than the road courses. While some might disagree, it is true that driving in the ovals takes a lot more precision in braking, and accelerating. Moreover, the turns in the ovals like Daytona and Charlotte pose a great deal of threat to the drivers. A delay worth a fraction of a second might have an adverse effect on your game, on your car, and even worse, your life.

However, when the road course of Watkins Glen comes up as a topic of discussion, the story is somewhat different. This New York Street circuit is challenging to the drivers in several ways. The Glen takes advantage of the steep terrain that it sits on. Hence, the high banking of the track posits the driver in an uncomfortable position around every turn. And Watkins Glen has 7 of these notorious turns.

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Reddick had mentioned in an interview last year that Watkins Glen differs entirely from other road courses like Sonoma. He explained, “We do get excited but we realize that things we had going for us whether it was Road America or Indy, don’t apply for the most part going into Watkins Glen. We gotta start over, get back to work and really understand what we’ve got to bring in a car and be competitive.”

Fast forward to the Watkins Glen pre-race interview, Reddick said, “I know Indy and Watkins Glen are quite a bit different, but hopefully the speed’s there.”

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“Typically we’re pretty solid but we aren’t really happy unless we’re as strong as we are at places like COTA,” he clarified.

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Written by:

Soumyadeep Saha

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Soumyadeep is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. He has done his Master's in English Literature and is a semi-professional bodybuilder. He has, in recent years, channelized his love and commitment for motorsports into a building career path.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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