Tyler Reddick Emerges As A Title Contender In First Year With 23XI Racing

Tyler Reddick knows expectations are high in his first year driving for 23XI Racing, the Nascar Cup Series team owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and fellow racer Denny Hamlin.

“I have great people around me,” Reddick said. “Winning races is a huge goal, and we want to consistently be in the top five. For me, this team and its growth, bringing cars to seven out of [the first] 10 races that we can win or compete in the top five is huge.
“I’m really, really curious to see what our potential is. We want to make the playoffs. Everyone set a goal for top-10 in points, but we don’t want to be content with that. We want to keep pushing.”

Reddick, 27, spent three years as the driver of Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 car before joining the Toyota team in 2023. With a breakout 2022 season, which included three triumphs, Reddick became one of the hottest drivers in the sport. He was so wanted by teams that 23XI signed him originally for the 2024 season, a year-and-a-half before he was slated to run one of its cars.

But with Kurt Busch forced to retire from full-time competition, 23XI made a push to have Reddick join the team a year early. Evidently, Richard Childress Racing — Reddick’s previous team — didn’t want to keep him for a year knowing he’d be leaving the Chevrolet group for a rival Toyota team.

The timing worked out where Reddick could depart RCR at the end of the 2022 season, rather than spending another year at RCR in a third car or forcing 23XI to start a third team in 2023. And this came after RCR insisted Reddick would remain with the team in 2023, even with the September 2022 announcement that Kyle Busch — Kurt’s brother — would take over the No. 8 car for RCR.

But a few weeks later, with Kurt’s full-time driving career coming to an end, it made sense for all sides to come to an agreement.

“When the news finally came my way, I was like, ‘What is this going to look like?’” Reddick recalled.

Now, here we are, and both Reddick and the younger Busch are basking in success to start the 2023 season.

“It’s been really exciting,” Reddick said. “I spent a lot of time over the offseason getting acclimated to the environment that 23XI has from the previous places that I’ve driven. This is the first time I’ve changed teams in a large number of years. Everything on my side is going good.”

Through the first 10 races of Reddick’s tenure with 23XI, he already picked up a victory at Circuit of the Americas in dominating fashion to all but lock him into the playoffs.

The triumph was quite emotional for Reddick and Busch (who was calling the action on the Fox Sports broadcast), who won the 2004 Cup Series championship.

“The one thing that’s made this nice is they [23XI and Toyota] make everyone feel like family,” Reddick said. “It was really cool that we were able to break through and win as early as we did. For us, getting to know Toyota and starting our first of many years with 23XI and working so well already is huge.
“Kurt has done a lot for the sport. He’s been through a lot of highs and lows. There’s a huge amount of knowledge and wisdom that he shares with me and Bubba [Wallace]. I’m incredibly grateful to drive for a team like this.”

Since Reddick joined 23XI, he’s been working with new partners, including Xfinity. Xfinity, which is owned by Comcas is the entitlement sponsor of Nascar’s version of Triple-A, where Reddick won back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019. Now, the firm’s 10G internet is sponsoring Reddick.

While Xfinity doesn’t necessarily need to sponsor a Cup car, it believes this partnership fits its business model.

“Xfinity is always looking for ways to evolve our Nascar programming and engage with fans,” Matt Lederer, vice president of brand partnerships for Xfinity, said in a statement. “The opportunity to partner with 23XI Racing, was a natural fit as we both recognize the importance of growing the sport of Nascar and finding ways to show our appreciation to those that enjoy the sport we love through one-of-a-kind track experiences.
“Working with the 23XI Racing organically fits into how Xfinity activates and engages with fans of Nascar. Following its launch earlier this year, we were able to highlight the new Xfinity 10G Network through our primary sponsorship of Tyler Reddick’s No. 45 car in Atlanta.”

Reddick is determined to continue to learn from Busch, who continues to travel with the team.

“I’m tapping into his experiences,” Reddick said. “He’s helping me get through challenges along the way. There’s been a number of things, but one thing he shared with me a number of times is how special this group is. He played a huge part in building this up, and it makes me realize how special this team and organization are.”

As the Cup Series goes to Dover Motor Speedway, Reddick sits sixth in the Cup Series standings and has six playoff points to his credit.

Joseph Wolkin