Tyler Reddick took another step toward solidifying his credentials as a road-course ace during qualifying for Sunday’s Verizon 200 at The Brickyard (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, IMS Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
In the final round of the time trials on Saturday, Reddick blasted through the 2.439, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in a blistering 88.354 seconds (99.378 mph) to take pole position for the fourth road event of the season.
The Busch Light Pole Award was the second of Reddick’s career, and it follows his first NASCAR Cup Series win in early July at Road America. Reddick earned his only other Cup pole last year in the rain at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 Chevy of Reddick was 0.252 seconds faster than Austin Cindric’s No. 2 Ford, which lapped 99.095 mph in the final run.
Initially, Reddick didn’t think his lap was fast enough for pole, and he opted to go for a second run, which was slower.
“It actually didn’t (feel as good),” Reddick said. “That’s what made me want to race there again. It ended up being a pretty good ride. I could have done a better job, but it was good to know that…we really did such a great job – everyone at RCR and the ECR powerhouse under that hood.
“Just this whole group of the #8 Chevrolet 3CHI team has done a really good job of preparing the last two weeks for this race. It looks like we’re picking up where we left off at Road America.
Chase Briscoe (98.962 mph) qualified third, followed by Christopher Bell (98.721 mph) and Joey Logano (98.476 mph).
Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell, Chase Elliott, Todd Gilliland and Kyle Busch round out the top 10 qualifiers, a group that included six Fords, two Chevrolets and two Toyotas.
Ryan Blaney must weigh strategic options in the next five races
With five races remaining in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, Ryan Blaney finds himself in an awkward position, which may require risk/reward calculations in each event.
Fourteen different drivers have already won races this season, and this is the surest path to a place in the series’ 10-event playoffs. Blaney is the highest-ranked driver among those who haven’t won races, 22 points ahead of Martin Truex Jr., who currently holds the last Playoff-eligible position.
If there are no single winners in the next five races, Blaney and Truex are likely to qualify for the playoffs on points. But as Blaney knows, there are no guarantees.
“The easiest but hardest thing to do is win, and I could stop talking about it, but we’ve been trying all year,” Blaney said on Saturday morning ahead of practice and qualifying on the road course. of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I hope we can do it and we won’t have to worry about it, but you just have to be in the back of your head to realize that you’re still in the race against Martin – we are – for the final (place).
“You don’t want to be on the bubble if there are no new winners, and obviously you want to try to win the race, so it’s a balancing act, especially the two road courses we have. (Indianapolis and Watkins Glen) Do you go for it, do you take the stage points to try to keep a good gap to 19 (Truex), or if you think your car can win, do you try to take the lead ?
“So it’s a bit situational, I feel. We talk about all these scenarios throughout the week and in our pre-race meetings, but ultimately the main focus is to try to win the race and do everything you can to try to make it happen.
Blaney qualified sixth for Sunday’s race.
Erik Jones will remain with Petty GMS Racing on a multi-year deal
Driver Erik Jones has signed a multi-year extension to drive the No. 43 Chevrolet for Petty GMS Racing, the team announced Saturday.
Specific terms of the new agreement have not been released.
“I’m really excited to have this deal done and to finally be able to talk about it,” said Jones, whose best result this season is a third at Auto Club Speedway. “I really like the group I have at Petty GMS and working with (team leader) Dave (Elenz). Every week I feel like we’re getting better and better and putting ourselves in vying to win.
“Knowing where I’m going to drive allows us to really focus on building the team and improving our cars. I’m looking forward to finishing this season strong, hopefully with a win, and carrying on. building on what we started this year with Petty GMS.
Jones originally signed with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2021 and continued in the prestigious No. 43 race when Petty and GMS Racing merged before the start of the 2022 season.