NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR takeaways: Tyler Reddick capitalizes on wild Talladega finish
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR takeaways: Tyler Reddick capitalizes on wild Talladega finish

Updated Apr. 22, 2024 10:51 a.m. ET

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Michael Jordan stuck out his tongue when he made big plays. His NASCAR driver Tyler Reddick apparently closes his eyes.

They made for a good combination Sunday as Jordan and Reddick celebrated a NASCAR Cup Series victory at Talladega Superspeedway. 

An elated Jordan wasn't something out of a movie. It was real life. And it was authentic.

For the first time since launching 23XI Racing with Denny Hamlin prior to the start of the 2021 season, the basketball great was in attendance for a victory by one of his drivers as he watched Reddick earn his first win of the season and the sixth in team history.


"Denny keeps saying I am bad luck when I come to the track," Jordan said. "Today we proved him wrong, ... I'm very happy to be here to see it."

Jordan grew up in North Carolina and his father worked on race cars. 

"This is NBA playoffs [time] right now, so this, to me, is like an NBA playoff game. ... We've been working hard trying to get ourselves up to where we can compete against all the top guys in this sport.

"We've done a heck of a job just to be where we are. For us to win a big race like this, it means so much to me for the effort that the team has done. I'm all in. I love it. It replaces a lot of the competitiveness I had in basketball, but this is even worse because I have no control."

The 28-year-old Reddick was only 7-years-old when Jordan retired from basketball. 

"It's incredible, right?" Reddick said about watching highlights of Jordan's career. "He's one of the best to do it. There's a couple that have been that good for that long, but obviously, I'm going to be partial to my boss."

Takeaways after a race where Reddick was followed by Brad Keselowski, Noah Gragson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman across the finish line.

One Michael celebrates, another Michael not so much after a wild finish at Talladega

Reddick Survives Late Melee

Reddick scooted to the lead when leader Michael McDowell tried to throw a block on Brad Keselowski to remain out front. McDowell was turned and hit the wall. The contact with McDowell was enough to slow down Keselowski and allow Reddick by.

If someone watching thought Reddick somehow saw something to make that move, he apparently didn't.

"That late I'm just holding it wide open — I just close my eyes," Reddick said. "I'm going to hold it wide open. I'm going to do whatever it takes to not lift. I've been in that situation a few different scenarios.

"It's the first time I've been in that spot at the front when you can battle for a win."

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Keselowski, looking to snap a 107-race winless streak, saw it extend to 108.

"I went to make a move on Michael, and he covered it," Keselowski said. "I went back the other way, and I got another push from Noah [Gragson] -- just nowhere to go when Michael came back down.

"So I hate that for him. He's a good guy."

'I'm all in' — Michael Jordan on Tyler Reddick's victory at Talladega and what it means to win

McDowell Takes Blame

McDowell took the blame for the last-lap wreck but said he didn't feel like it was a low-percentage move.

"When I pulled down, I thought I was going to be clear," McDowell said. "I didn't feel like it was a super-late block. Obviously, it was. My intention wasn't all-or-nothing at that moment, it was to stop the advancement [Keselowski] had in the run. ... The last lap, you're going to go for it for sure.

"I wish I had done it better and not wiped out half the field."

In the accident, Corey LaJoie flipped with his car's wheels up against the wall for a stretch.

"Pretty wild ride," LaJoie said. "I'm glad I slid past the start-finish line, so I didn't have to run past it like Carl Edwards [once did after a crash]. ... Somebody gets into you, and you smash into somebody else and hit the wall and just hope that there's no catchfence in front of you or you're not upside-down.

"Today, I was the one upside-down."

Michael McDowell speaks on the incident at Talladega and what he would have done differently

Jones Heads To Hospital

Legacy Motor Club driver Erik Jones was involved in a hard accident early in the final stage when he got hit from behind by Bubba Wallace, who might have gotten a push from John Hunter Nemechek.

Jones complained about his back on his team radio after the accident and said he was OK after leaving the care center. But he later returned to the care center and was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

"I'm sore," Jones said. "It really stretched it out a lot. It'll be a long week just trying to get recovered and feeling better for next week. But I'm all right."

Jones was released from UAB University Hospital late Sunday night and was returning home to North Carolina, according to a team statement, which did not give any details on the extent of any injuries to Jones’ back. 

'It'll be a long week' - Erik Jones on his back soreness

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including over 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass.


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