By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
Tyler Reddick has been balancing risk vs. reward in 2023 to dramatically differing results.
Indeed, with six top-five finishes in his first year with 23XI Racing, the 27-year-old has partnered that with a whopping 10 finishes of 22nd or worse (six of which no better than 30th).
So when he left Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Indianapolis GP Circuit with a fourth-place finish and no drama, a sigh of relief could have been expected from the No. 45.
However, the defending Indianapolis winner couldn’t hold back his frustrations.
“It’s the day we needed,” Reddick said, “but when I come here, anything other than battling for the win is disappointing for sure. We’ll look it over and see what we were missing, when and how.”
Qualifying second for the fourth straight time on a road course — and 10th straight top-five start on a road course — Reddick was quietly in contention behind the trio of Daniel Suarez, Chase Elliott and the dominator of the day, Michael McDowell.
Though he finished well behind the three, Reddick believed his potential was higher than his fourth-place finish, had lapped cars not hindered his pace.
“The majority of the entire day, I ran behind somebody,” he said. “It seemed that if you just get by them, you could pull away. But we were held behind someone most of the race.
“When I would make a mistake and run 10 car lengths off, I would run back to them but get stuck behind them. I couldn’t close in enough to really make the passes.
“I would have to dive-bomb from two car lengths back and that’s hard to do without wiping out yourself and the car you’re racing.”
A premier way to gain (or lose) positions on the day is through restarts. And given the new location of the restart zone, they were sure to reel the top three back to Reddick for another shot.
However, a caution-free 77-lap run to the end gave Reddick no optimism in catching them on sheer speed.
“We had two restarts all day so it never really had a chance to get crazy,” he said. “Restarting the outside both times, I got put in a tough spot. The second time, McDowell was able to take advantage of it.
“Him and Chase [Elliott] were better on fire-off. By the time I got where I needed to be, they were too far away to do anything about it.”