Not a bad month here for the pride of Corning, California Tyler Reddick. The two-time Xfinity Series Champion picked up his first Cup win on July 4th weekend at Road America over Chase Elliott. Now, he does not need to worry about his long-term future. Although he is with Richard Childress Racing for another season and a half, it was announced yesterday that Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing team had acquired his services.
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Tyler Reddick Has Entered the Chat
Not often does news of a signing get tipped by a video chat notification, but that was exactly the case here. Reporters on-call noticed Reddick, a Richard Childress Racing driver, trying to get into a Hamlin virtual press conference. After getting into the stream, he bolted and was sat next to Hamlin no less than 10 seconds later. The news being that Reddick will be a part of the team beginning in 2024. That is not a typo. Hamlin went out and made sure he got his guy, as he still has a year and a half remaining on his current deal. There have been deals announced far out before in NASCAR, but that means maybe a year out at the absolute maximum. Kevin Harvick to Stewart-Hass Racing and Matt Kenseth to Joe Gibbs Racing are two that jump out there.
Toyota was doing a Zoom with 23XI and TRD’s David Wilson today when they unexpectedly announced the Tyler Reddick deal. This is how they did it: pic.twitter.com/w7CbqXE5Tp
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 12, 2022
Not a stretch to say this is something that has the entire 23XI program excited, echoed by Hamlin, along with team President Steve Lauletta.
“Tyler is one of the most sought-after young drivers and has been competitive in everything he’s raced. His work on the track speaks for itself and he will make a fantastic addition to our lineup in 2024. The team has seen a lot of growth since our first race and signing Tyler is a great next step for us to remain competitive for years to come.” – Denny Hamlin
“Announcing a driver over a year before he will be racing with 23XI is a little unprecedented, but Tyler was the driver we wanted and we did not want to miss the opportunity to bring him to our team. In making the announcement now the team has ample time to prepare for 2024 on the business side as we expect interest from potential partners and continue to see strong engagement from our current partners.” – Steve Lauletta
From the horse’s mouth, they wanted Reddick, they got Reddick. Getting him this far out is big for all the reasons Lauletta said, especially getting sponsors lined up for the playoff-bound driver. Based on his current trajectory, 23XI should be sitting pretty on that front. As for if this will be a third car or a Kurt Busch replacement gig for Reddick, that is currently unknown. Hamlin effectively stated yesterday that Busch has a ride as long as he wants one with the team. So this will be either a Bubba Wallace-Reddick tandem or a Wallace, Busch, Reddick trio. Either way, that is a great spot to be in for 23XI
A fair question to ask is how Reddick was able to negotiate a new deal with another team this far out? This is an unprecedented situation, so perhaps there was a way, but it doesn’t sound like Richard Childress Racing is all too thrilled in any case. Shortly after the deal was announced, they put up this statement on their social channels.
— RCR (@RCRracing) July 12, 2022
That final sentence does not feel like it’s coming from a place of happiness. Although, “the timing of this announcement could not be any worse” feels like a bit of a stretch. Hypothetically, a week before the 2024 Daytona 500 comes to mind as significantly worse timing. Regardless, this is a gigantic loss for RCR. The team synonymous with Dale Earnhardt has just five wins dating back to 2017. Although they will have him for 50 or so more races, losing Reddick won’t help that run get better. Additionally, it will be interesting to see what Richard Childress has to say the next time the media corp gets a chance to talk to him. You have to imagine he isn’t too happy about his top driver signing elsewhere a year and a half out.
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images