LAS VEGAS — A pair of Xfinity Series standouts learned from one of the circuit’s all-time greats Saturday afternoon, pushing eventual winner Kyle Busch to the limit at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell ended their challenges with damaged cars, but with a learning experience and a fun time to show for it.
Reddick and Bell crashed during the first of two overtime attempts in the Boyd Gaming 300, with Reddick — the defending series champ — losing control in a contest for the lead. His spin triggered a multicar incident that collected Bell, Austin Cindric and rookie Zane Smith in the fourth turn.
Reddick apologized to his team over their radio communications post-race, indicating that Busch’s clinging to the outside lane had placed his Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Chevrolet in a disadvantageous spot. With Busch controlling the aero cushion between them, he held on for his second win of the weekend.
The organization quickly offered its support in defeat, with Richard Childress and Randy Petree among those embracing Reddick and telling him that he had no need to ask forgiveness.
“No regrets on my end. It is what it is,” said Reddick, who led 62 laps, second only to Busch’s 98. “In the closing laps, you know it’s going to happen. People are going to go for the win, and we were in a spot where I think we could’ve gotten it. It didn’t go our way. Kyle did what he had to do and he won the race. Hat’s off to him.”
Before the series of late restarts, Reddick and Bell made a gutsy drive over the longest green-flag run of the race to produce a three-way battle for the top spot with 20 laps left in regulation. As Bell closed in on Busch, Reddick reeled in the front two. A full-contact clash between the two challengers went back and forth, trading bumps and scrapes as the laps wound down.
Afterward, both confessed no hurt feelings, both smiling in reflection over their hard-nosed skirmish.
“Tyler’s a badass. He’s really, really talented,” Bell said. “That was one of the most fun NASCAR races I’ve ran yet. Tyler was really good, Kyle was really good and I was right there in the mix. I feel like all three of us laid it all on the line today and Kyle got away with one, but maybe that’ll change the next couple of races.”
Said Reddick: “We got pretty aggressive there for a while. I was trying to slide in front of him and take the top (groove) away from him. We were just having fun being aggressive. It’s the end of the race. We understand what’s on the line. We’re just trying to get to Victory Lane.”