Tyler Reddick Wins 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Homestead
Cole Custer dominates the majority of Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300, but Tyler Reddick takes a late lead for the win.
Tyler Reddick was a winner three-times over at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday. With his win of the Ford EcoBoost 300 season-finale, Reddick also claimed the Xfinity Series championship and Rookie of the Year honors.
“The year wasn’t the smoothest for us, but I knew coming in here, if we just made it to Homestead, this is a great track for me; it rewards my aggression,” Reddick said. “Tonight, we hit the wall a lot, but the car kept in one piece long enough for me to get to the end. These guys worked so hard all year on the BurgerFi Chevrolet. We had to overcome a lot. This year was all about learning. It was an up and down year, and with everything we had to do, we had to do it in the playoffs, and it rewarded us with a championship. We can hang our hat on that. I know people will say we weren’t consistent, but we got it done when it counted most.”
Reddick bookended the season with wins when he added his Homestead victory to his one other 2018 triumph in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Another championship competitor, Cole Custer, finished second after leading a race-high 95 of the 200 laps that made up the contest. With that finish, Custer claimed the 2018 Xfinity Series owners’ championship for his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team.
“First off, congrats to Tyler. I’m happy for him,” Custer said. “He could run the wall better than I could at the end there, and we were so far back from our pit stop with their strategy, that once I got to him, it seemed like our tires kind of equaled out, and then, he started running the top and I couldn’t keep up with him. It is what it is. It was a solid day. We had a fast car; we just didn’t have it play out right at the end. I’ve just got to thank everybody at Haas Automation, Gene Haas, Tony Stewart – everybody that’s been behind us all year. We were really close; it’s just sucks to be second.”
Custer’s dominance came in the race’s first half. After starting on the pole, he led the first 93 laps, including stage wins at Lap 45 and Lap 90. He lost the lead during the caution after the second stage completed when John Hunter Nemechek was the first driver off pit road.
Reddick and a third title contender, Christopher Bell, combined to lead the remaining laps after a cycle of green-flag pit stops completed around Lap 150. Reddick took the lead for good on Lap 164. Bell fell off the pace and made an unscheduled stop for a flat tire with 10 laps remaining. He wound up 11th at the checkered flag.
“Not the night we wanted for the Gamestop Camry, that’s for sure,” Bell said. “But, overall, the season was excellent. We had a really fast Camrys week in and week out. Unfortunately tonight, I wasn’t good enough. Hats off to everyone on this team 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing and everyone at the shop. Thank you for building fast race cars. Congratulations to Tyler Reddick. He did a great job and went out to attack all night. It paid off for him.”
Bell was the only championship candidate outside the top-five at the finish. The remaining title contender, Daniel Hemric, was fourth.