Tyler Reddick welcomes the warmup the Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Coliseum serves for a new NASCAR season but doesn’t want to get too caught up in it setting the tone for 23XI Racing.
“It can, but it also can’t,” Reddick said. “You look at us last year as my first outing with Toyota and 23XI, and we had a pretty solid day. Bubba [Wallace] was pretty strong. Then we went to Daytona and Fontana and Vegas, and had three weeks of a really rough skid to start the year.
“So, it doesn’t always necessarily guarantee (anything). If you can come in here and be one of the fastest cars, run up front, do all the right things, it certainly gets your confidence going in the right direction as you get ready for the Daytona 500.”
Reddick finished sixth in last year’s Clash event. Of the first three points-paying events, Reddick crashed out of two (Daytona and Fontana) and finished 15th in Las Vegas. He was 33rd in the championship standings by early March.
But the season ended much differently. The No. 45 team qualified for the postseason through a dominating victory at Circuit of the Americas and moved into the Round of 12 after winning at Kansas Speedway in the fall.
It’s been another busy offseason for Reddick and 23XI Racing as the organization moved into its new race shop, nicknamed Airspeed, in Huntersville, North Carolina. And yet Reddick said the offseason flew by as he tried to catch up on things away from racing and plan his wedding to fiancee Alex DeLeon.
“Time just kind of flew by on me,” Reddick said. “So, hopefully, I’m ready (for a new racing season). I know my team – we did a good job of taking notes and debriefing and doing all those things throughout the year, so they had plenty to go off of throughout the offseason. So, I know coming into this year because of that good job we did taking notes and making little to-do lists on things we really want to focus on, I feel like, in a way, what we set out to improve upon throughout the season really didn’t change from last year.”
Reddick will be one of eight full-time Toyota drivers behind the wheel of a new Camry this season. Toyota has rolled out the Camry XSE, which has a new front fascia and upper grill slot.
Toyota and Ford, two of the three manufacturers in NASCAR, took the opportunity to update their body style for the 2024 racing season. Chevrolet will continue with its Camaro model while the company works on plans for its future vehicle in the series, as the Camaro production car is discontinued this year.
As the season starts, it remains unknown whether Toyota (and Ford) will fall behind because of their new car. NASCAR does not allow on-track testing, so Toyota has had to rely on data, wind tunnel, and simulator work to prepare for competition. Reddick, however, has no such questions and concerns about getting up to speed quickly in his new car.
“No, it’s not really a worry or concern,” he said. “A lot of the things that we do to try to improve our race car is check off what’s the best platform, ride height, you name it, and we do a lot of that work in the wind tunnel. And obviously that’s a group effort by Toyota, TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing, we all work together on that stuff. A lot of improvements have been made over the years and with Next Gen. You don’t have the chance to go validate them at a test; you just go race them, so we have a lot of confidence in what we’re able to find through that testing time that we have there.
“I think if anything, there’s always a chance it could be off a couple numbers here or there from the tunnel to the track, but I don’t think it’ll be anything crazy. The car is certainly reimagined, but it’s still a Next Gen car… there’s a lot of pieces that didn’t necessarily change too much. So, for me, it’s not even a concern.”