DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell – Performance Motorsports Network audio – Drew Hallowell/Getty Images North America photo –
It takes fortitude and patience to win a race in the NASCAR national series ranks and it requires even more effort to go out and win the championship.
But, with a little momentum and experience, that path to the title often becomes much easier.
By staying the course, Brad Keselowski Racing driver Tyler Reddick is hoping he can walk an easier road in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series — one that he’s hoping leads to a championship in his maiden attempt at the crown.
“It means a lot,” Reddick said about being able to run full-time this season. “I feel like the last half the season (in 2014) everyone really stepped up. We just really started to click. We had some really good momentum to close the season. So that was nothing to be disappointed about.
“I think our finishes gave (everyone) on the team the (mentality) that we have a driver who can go out and win the championship – and that is what are goal will be. I really feel like we had a lot of teams worried about how competitive we would be coming into the 2015 season.”
Reddick, who scored two poles along with four top five finishes during his rookie campaign, is anticipating he can make a championship run and score several wins as he enters this season with renewed confidence and more seat time under his belt.
“I did have confidence going into last season, but nothing like I do this year,” Reddick said. “I now can have a lot more confidence knowing that we have had some good runs. But that is not good enough – we need to get some wins. We just need to explode out of the gates. Like I said, confidence is everything.”
While his poles and top five results were the highlights from his rookie season, the Corning, California driver also finished each race – except for Pocono when he was parked by officials – and that is something he looks to continue moving forward.
“It is all about keeping the vehicle in one piece,” Reddick said. “Racing is all about going as hard as you can every single lap without making a mistake. I feel like that is what I need to do to be able to win a championship and win some races. We just have to be smart and not make any mistakes.”
Aside from his solid consistency last season, Reddick’s biggest letdown was being unable to capture the Rookie of The Year honors after Ben Kennedy won on the tiebreaker (whoever finished highest in the season finale).
Despite that goal not being accomplished, Reddick is hoping to use the upset as motivation and also realize how valuable each position becomes in the final standings.
“It just fuels the fire,” Reddick said about not winning the award. “It just proves that there is a lot of times over the course of the season that one spot would’ve been the tiebreaker. And there are a lot of places that I could have gained just one more spot.”
“It makes me understand that if I am going to win a championship then I am going to have to take it to a whole different level and just run hard each weekend. I have faith in the team and I am sure we can (win the title).”
Reddick, 19, will start his championship bid next weekend at Daytona International Speedway, a race that he does not feel compelled to go out and dominate.
“Daytona, for a driver is sorta a wild card going in,” Reddick explained. “There is not a lot of pressure on me – I really don’t feel any pressure at all. I know our superspeedway package is outstanding. I have full confidence in everybody. I just have to keep the body (on the truck) for the last 10 laps and hope to chase after a win.”
Listen in to an extended cut of Race Chaser Online’s conversation with Reddick during the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show earlier this month below: