NASCAR takeaways: Tyler Reddick reaches Round of 12 with 'aggressive' move

Tyler Reddick makes bold move to the apron of the track with a lap remaining that helped lift him to victory Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Tyler Reddick is known for driving right up against the wall, but it was a bold move to the apron of the track with a lap remaining that lifted him to the victory Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

Reddick, who had four fresh tires but restarted seventh on the overtime finish behind one driver who didn't take tires, three drivers who took two fresh tires and two other drivers who took four fresh tires, was able to make a move to the outside and then to the apron.

"It felt a little aggressive," Reddick said about the move. "It's a fine line. If you get a hole, you take it, right?"

The victory vaulted Reddick into the quarterfinal round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, joining Kyle Larson as being locked into the next round going into the first-round elimination race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"It was a really solid day," Reddick said. "It's great to get it out of the way and be locked in."

Reddick finished second in the playoff opener a week earlier at Darlington Raceway and Sunday marked the first time Reddick recorded back-to-back top-five finishes since March.

Reddick's team owner, Denny Hamlin, finished second in a race where Hamlin would have won if not for a flat tire for Chris Buescher that brought out the late caution.

Takeaways from a race where Reddick and Hamlin were followed by Erik Jones (a team-best third this season for Legacy Motor Club), Kyle Larson and Joey Logano.

Reddick's Gain, Hamlin's Loss

On that final restart, Daniel Suarez was the leader on old tires, followed by Jones, Kyle Busch and Logano on two tires and then Hamlin and Larson ahead of Reddick, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski.

"More cars took the top than I expected, and I was able to be the first car on the inside row with four fresh tires," Reddick said. "The car was fast."

Hamlin led 63 laps, including 62 of the 77 laps prior to that last caution. He felt he got a little stymied on the final restart as Larson, who was behind him, left a big gap between them in hopes of getting more momentum on the restart. NASCAR tells drivers not to lay back and drivers often jockey to see how far they can lay back without being penalized.

"I liked where I was at but the 5 [of Larson] was lagging so far back on the restart that if they allow it, you're a sitting duck," Hamlin said. "It's advantageous if you can get away with it. ... I had no choice but to back up to him and by doing that, I was sleeping on the start and let [Reddick] take the space I was hoping to have."

Hamlin saw potential victories in the playoffs slip through his hands the last two weeks.

"I want to win — playoffs, whatever," Hamlin said. "Two weeks in a row we're really dominant and we don't get a win."

Bob Pockrass