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Reddick mystified by last-lap mistake

Tyler Reddick “screwed up” on the final lap of Sunday’s race at Chicago and threw away a chance at challenging for the race win.

Reddick was closing on race leader Alex Bowman when he clipped the Turn 5 wall with his right front. He then came off the corner and brushed the wall with the left side of his 23XI Racing Toyota Camry. The mistakes allowed Bowman to stretch the lead back out as Reddick faded.

“I’m upset,” Reddick said of second place. “I was catching Alex by a large margin there. I don’t know — that puzzles me. I clearly just screwed up trying to stay in the dry groove, and I had more than enough room of the dry groove. I cut the wheel a little too hard — just not focused enough, I guess.

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“I knew I was going to get to him, and the earlier I could get to him, the more options I would have, and it was going to get a little bit more slick off line beyond Turn 8. [I] just didn’t even give ourselves a shot to race him unfortunately. I hate it. Not what this Jordan Brand Toyota Camry is about and what this team is about. [We] just got to start capitalizing on these (races).”

Reddick was 1.9 seconds behind Bowman at the white flag. He was 1.4 seconds behind when he clipped the Turn 5 wall.

“I got the opportunity to run him down,” Reddick said. “Just obviously couldn’t get the job done. A clean lap was all I had to do and couldn’t even do that.”

It was a late-race surge for Reddick, who drove to second in the final minutes of the race. Reddick was running 10th when the timed race restarted for the final time with less than five minutes on the clock, but he was on slick tires after the No. 45 team decided to go with the dry set before the end of the second stage. The track was drying enough that Reddick and crew chief Billy Scott thought it would be the right call.

“[We were] expecting it to be a close pace difference, and that’s how it looked like it was going to play out,” Scott said. “It just depended on how many people stayed on the wets and how big of a gap they built up with the guys on slicks trying to get through there.”

Reddick gained several positions as the clock ticked under three minutes when Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell made contact off Turn 2. The rest were made up by using the slicks to his advantage — as Bowman continued on his wet weather tires.

“The last 10 [laps] entirely, there was a lot going on,” Reddick said. “The 20 (Bell) and the 54 (Gibbs) were obviously ahead of us most of the day and the situation just played out to where they got collected in other people’s nonsense. We were in a position to run down the 48 (Bowman), it was going to be really close, and had I not made the mistake – just crazy.

“[I] ran all day long and know where my limits are and here at the end, when it matters most, I made the dumbest mistake.”

Before the mistakes, Scott said, “By the numbers, we had time (to get there).”

Story originally appeared on Racer