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“Just Lived and Died” – Michael Jordan’s Driver Takes a Sigh of Relief After Dominating Kansas

Published 09/12/2023, 11:53 AM EDT

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In this scorching playoff heat, the 23XI Racing team earned a moment to catch its breath. The team owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan, has both its Cup racers in playoffs in only its third year of formation. Moreover, their #45 car brought further respite to their driver after the race at Kansas Speedway.

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After a runner-up position at Darlington, Tyler Reddick aimed for the checkered once again in the second playoff race. The Toyota Camry driver took a surprising lead in the last two laps at Kansas to alleviate immediate worries for the next round. Reddick then recounted the Herculean efforts to reach here, and the changed strategy for Bristol Motor Speedway.

23XI Racing driver credits Denny Hamlin and team for playoff win


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After his earlier win at Circuit of The Americas, Tyler Reddick sought to replicate that performance this season. With nine Top 5 and thirteen Top 10 finishes, the 23XI racer was bound to accomplish it soon enough. Defeating co-owner Denny Hamlin, in the process, was just the cherry on top.

When #17 Chris Buescher’s damaged tires signaled for caution, Reddick raced to the pit stops for a winning strategy. With only six laps to go and a brand new set of tires, Reddick cruised past five race cars, including Hamlin’s #11 Toyota for a triumphant finish.


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Conquering Kansas would finally fill the lone void in Reddick’s accomplished team. Hamlin was a seasoned winner on this racetrack and Reddick’s teammate Bubba Wallace registered his mark a year ago. Even team consultant and former champion Kurt Busch swept past the Kansas flag in the Cup series.

In a clip shared by NASCAR Radio, Tyler Reddick spoke about his team’s constant support throughout the year. He also mentioned the efforts he put into achieving this his entire racing career. Reddick added that the speed of his car brought fruition to his labor.

“We’ve been putting in the work all year long, right? Getting to know this team, you know, help from Denny [Hamlin], help from Kurt [Busch], help from Bubba [Wallace]. Like I’m just starting to learn that, just working on the race management piece a little bit more. My whole life just lived and died by it. Just driving it past 100% every single time I go into the corner. And it doesn’t always work out, right? So just managing that better.”

“It’s been a learning curve this year. What really helps me be able to do that is when we bring cars that are as fast as they are. It allows me to just work on that piece a little bit better. So I really enjoyed that. The last two weeks is what I feel like we have been capable of all year long. It’s really nice to have that speed.”

Watch this story: Michael Jordan May Take a Step Back as Toyota Negotiations Stall

Reddick further shared his playoff strategy for the upcoming race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Tyler Reddick’s Kansas victory has opened room for unconventional maneuvers


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Tyler Reddick qualified 10th in the playoffs after scoring a win in the Echo Park Automotive Grand Prix. However, he influenced his standings favorably with his last two performances. The #45 driver climbed the charts and currently stands second after Darlington winner Kyle Larson.

The Kansas victory guaranteed Reddick’s automatic qualification in the second round of playoffs. As a result, Reddick could concentrate on earning playoff points in the next race without elimination concerns bearing down upon him. The race at Bristol would even grant him the freedom to take risks on the racetrack.

“Now the pressure’s off a little bit going into Bristol. I’d love to just have a quiet day there, but it is nice knowing we’re going to be able to go into, you know purely just be going after playoff points right? It’s such a great spot to be in. So hopefully opportunities arise…we can take risk, we can get after it. And try and steal some playoff points along the way throughout the race.”


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Amid Uncertainty Around Michael Jordan’s NASCAR Team’s Future With Toyota, Denny Hamlin Escapes Fueling $48 Billion Manufacturer Shift Rumors

Tyler Reddick and Kyle Larson have confirmed their spots. However, there are 14 other racers clamoring for qualification through a Bristol win. Fortunately, Tyler Reddick has the next race to take it easy before he is in the throes of intense competition yet again.

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Written by:

Parika Singh


One take at a time

Parika Singh is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. Her combined love for writing and motorsports drew her to the world of sports journalism, where she fell in love with the thrill, unpredictability, and charisma of covering racers and race tracks. She especially looks out for the #5 Chevrolet of Kyle 'Wheelman' Larson, because of whom, she holds a soft spot for the 2021 season where he emerged as champion.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh