Throughout the second half of the truck race at Daytona, Tyler Reddick sat at the race leader, blocking both sides of the streets, working with his teammate Austin Theriault to try and hold all charges back.
“I can tell you any race you lead at Daytona can be very stressful,” he commented. “You’re the guy in front of everyone else and you have no one else to draft off of. You’re kind of a sitting duck. You have to really just wait and be smart, just hope for the best.
“There was a lot of stress taken off my mind when I saw the 29 (Theriault) behind me, knowing I had a teammate right behind me. Obviously we came here to run 1-2 either way we could do it. It was a shame that he couldn’t hold on to second at the end. A good top-five finish for both trucks is just outstanding. It was just great to have a teammate there at the end. We were able to work together and pull off a win for the 19.”
To some, it surprised how well Theriault was able to work with Reddick due to his lack of experience on the restrictor plate tracks. However, Reddick wasn’t worried at all as he feels Theriault is a smart driver that learns quickly, and felt confidence based on the practice they did together.
“I just had all the confidence in the world in our trucks going into the race. If we were able to get together, we were going to be able to do great things together and help each other out,” Reddick commented. “Once we got together on the front row on the restarts, I had a pretty good feeling we were controlling the race, controlling the pack. Once that happened, it took a lot of ease off my mind. I can’t begin to say how much it means to have a teammate there and help you get to your first win.”
Working at blocking both sides of the street throughout, Reddick gave huge props to his spotter T.J. Majors, saying, “He did an outstanding job of doing a lot. He does a lot at all the truck races for me. He’s just an outstanding spotter and I can’t thank him enough.”
Reddick would play all the right cards, though, as he held off the field and became the fourth driver to score victory number one of his career at Daytona. He says it hasn’t sunk in yet, and will probably take a few days. The win is huge for a driver that struggled at the beginning of last season in his partial schedule for Brad Keselowski Racing.
“I think everyone knew going in that with only seven pavement races ever under my belt, there were going to be some things we had to work on,” Reddick commented. “They quickly showed right away at Daytona. Through the first part of the year we had a lot of things come up.
“I felt like once we got through half of my year, there were a lot of things we improved upon. From the second half of the year on, there were a lot of things that we were able to take out of the equation to make us have a better race team, have us better finishes. It’s unbelievable how much I learned from Daytona here last year to Homestead at the end of the 2014 season. You just feel like you’re on two completely different planets from the standpoint of readiness and comfort. So all the laps added up. It’s just comfort and seat time. The more we had, the better we got.”
Throughout the second half of the year, Reddick continued to improve, ending off the year on a string of strong finishes. The 19-year-old closed out the year with five straight top-10s to close out the season, highlighted by a pair of poles and a pair of fourth-place finishes.
Throughout the off-season, Reddick has been adament about the fact that he believes he and his Brad Keselowski Racing team can contend for the championship. The win only improves that confidence as he feels it proves to everyone in the shop that they can get it done on the track, and chase after a championship.
“I’m sure all the guys at the shop are sitting at home just tickled to death,” he commented. “I can’t even begin to describe what it means to them when they get a win. They work so darn hard to get us those great runs. To get them a win in the beginning of the year, I hope it means as much to them as it means to me.”