Clean second place enough for Reddick, this time

Tyler Reddick came up one spot short of a Southern 500 victory but a clean night for his 23XI Racing team was a small triumph.

"We did what we needed to do here tonight," Reddick said. "I really wanted to be two for two in South Carolina with UNC colors, but it just didn't work out. But it was a night we needed to have and I really enjoyed it. Definitely, when we come back next year, I'm going to be even hungrier to try to win that trophy."

Reddick's No. 45 Toyota Camry sported Jordan Brand sponsorship with the baby blue color of UNC, Jordan's alma mater. Saturday night, UNC beat the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Duke's Mayo Classic.

Reddick led 90 laps in the Sunday night race, the second-most of any driver (Denny Hamlin led 177). He also earned 16 stage points by finishing second in Stage 1 (worth nine points) and fourth in Stage 2 (worth seven points).

A potential victory slipped away when Reddick lost control of the race on pit road with less than 60 laps to go. Kyle Larson beat Reddick off pit road to take the lead, and Reddick spent the rest of the race — and two more restarts — chasing the Hendrick Motorsports driver.

"Man, I don't know, maybe just a little bit longer run," Reddick said of trying to beat Larson. "It had just gotten short enough to where you didn't save a whole lot, I don't think. Kyle and I were pretty close the majority of the day, honestly. He just got ahead of us there, unfortunately, on pit road, but all in all, this is the day that we needed to have.

"I'm really just thankful for the hard work from the pit crew, the team, everyone at the shop. Days like this with a car like this, we haven't been able to get a second-place finish out of it, so I'm really glad we're able to do that. We're sitting pretty good. It was a pretty good points day on top of that as well."

The top four finishers were separated by less than a second at the finish line. As Reddick chased Larson, he was closely followed by Chris Buescher and William Byron.

"It was a tough balance," Reddick said. "I wanted to keep pushing to try and get Kyle, but I was just getting so loose. I about wrecked in the middle of (Turns) 1 and 2 a few times. I don't know, I was either going to catch Kyle or I was going to wreck in the middle of 1 and 2 and finish the last car out — 28th.

"It just didn't make sense in my head, so we'll take the second place. Hopefully, one day in the future, we come back and have another shot at the Southern 500."