AUDIO/FEATURE: For Tyler Reddick, Thanksgiving provided good reason to give thanks

Jacob Seelman Audio, Featured, NASCAR, Other Late Models, Southeast 0 Comments

December 2, 2013 — Story by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — Concord, NC — It was the announcement few expected, but for 17-year-old Tyler Reddick, it was the announcement that meant he finally had his chance.

Following the conclusion of the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season at Homestead-Miami a couple of weeks ago, the bombshell announcement came down from the Brad Keselowski Racing stable that Reddick, out of Corning, California, would pilot the #19 Ford F-150 for a minimum of 15 races in the 2014 season with plans for a championship run in 2015. It was a move that left a few people surprised, but left Reddick thankful for the opportunity.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Brad and BKR in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” said the California Kid, who currently resides in DuQuoin, Illinois, following the announcement.  “As Brad is one of the young champion superstars in the sport today, I am confident I can learn a lot from him not just from a driving and competition standpoint, but also how to build a team around me and engage with sponsors and the media at the NASCAR level. I have no doubt that this is going to be a tremendous experience as I look to progress within the sport.”

“It’s going to be a learning experience, for sure. NASCAR’s a different animal compared to the dirt late models I’ve been running up to now, but you know, this is our chance to go out and prove what we’ve got. We made a splash in our East debut last year at Rockingham; who knows, maybe this time we can make another one.”

That ‘splash’ was exactly what caused the young star to catch the eye of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, when Reddick won the 2012 K&N Pro Series East finale at the Rock in just his third-ever asphalt start, after a last-lap duel with Brett Moffitt. And if you consider that that’s impressive enough on its own, realize that this is a young man who has built a resume around him that’s already more than a decade long. Dirt highlights include a win at the prestigious East Bay Winter Nationals in Florida, a pole in the World 100 at Eldora Speedway, two wins at the Red Bluff Nationals in California, a win in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and starts in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. In every instance, he was the youngest driver to set each mark.

But with the success he’s had in recent years, 2013 has been a dogfight. In his one and only Camping World Truck Series start this season, a strong 13th place qualifying effort was derailed by problems during the race, relegating Reddick to a 30th place finish. He finished 15th in an ARCA start at his home race at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, but the highs have come as well. A trio of 3rd-place efforts at the Eldora Speedway this season highlighted an outlaw dirt Super Late Model campaign that, while lacking a trip to Victory Lane, still produced 17 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes.

Reddick concluded his 2013 season at the World Finals at Charlotte in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. He wheeled his Roush-Yates powered dirt late model to a pair of finishes that were a microcosm of his year, a strong 7th-place showing and a 21st-place finish from a mechanical failure after running in the top five the entire feature.

“2013 was a roller coaster ride for us, we had some ups and downs for sure, but we’ve persevered through them and we’re not giving up. Now that we’ve got things shored up for 2014, we’re confident that we’ve got the stability and the people behind us to go out there and make something happen.”

Reddick knows the doubters will say that he’s not ready; that he shouldn’t be the one getting the shot. But he’s not concerned with those who think he can’t make it happen behind the wheel. He’s simply ready to go out and prove that he can make it happen, despite having to fight through a season of adversity.

“Yeah, we’ve had to fight this year, and it’s not been exactly what we hoped for, but this season has made us stronger, and I’m not about to give in now. It’s the down days that make the good days that much sweeter.”

And yet, with a lot of confidence in his abilities and a lot of backing behind him, the young talent knows exactly what’s important about the chance he’s been given.

“I’m just thankful for the chance. There’s so many talented drivers out here trying to make a name for themselves, and I’m humbled and thankful that Brad and the BKR team have given me this opportunity. Now I’m ready to go out there and make something of it.”

A happy Thanksgiving for the California Kid, indeed.

PHOTO CREDIT: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR

 

Listen in to hear a recent interview our Editor-in-Chief Tom Baker had with Tyler following the announcement of his 2014 ride with BKR:

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