Tyler Reddick wins late dash at NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas

Tyler Reddick made a strong late move at Kansas Speedway on Sunday afternoon — and one for a championship, as well.

The 27-year-old Toyota driver won a thrilling two-lap dash in the Hollywood Casino 400, NASCAR’s second playoff race, in Kansas City, Kan.

After playoff driver Chris Buescher blew a tire with seven laps left, Reddick restarted sixth on the final restart and made a hard charge off Turn 4.

He passed Erik Jones and Joey Logano, who had each taken two tires, as they raced side by side coming to the white flag and watched the No. 45 roar by all the way to the bottom of the frontstretch.

The 23XI Racing driver for NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and minority owner Denny Hamlin sped away to his fifth career win and advanced to the upcoming Round of 12 playoff segment. Hamlin finished in second.

“We had really good pace but just couldn’t get ahead of Denny there,” said Reddick of his second win in 2023. “Then chaos ensued, people stayed out, some took two tires and the bottom lane opened up.

“I had four fresh tires and I was sitting in there and (slid) up. … I came back (to Kansas) to get the (45) back where it belongs.”

That would be Victory Lane.

That No. 45 car number has now won three of the past four Kansas races with three different drivers — Reddick, Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch.

Hamlin appeared headed for his track-record fifth Kansas win before Buescher caused the ninth caution for the late restart.

“(Kyle Larson) was laying back so much, I was trying to back up to him,” said Hamlin, who led 63 laps. “I should’ve just kind of focused forward probably. … Sleeping on the restart, looking in the rear view instead of looking in the front.”

Jones, Larson and Logano completed the top five.

In the second Cup race of the Round of 16 playoffs, JGR’s Christopher Bell backed up his top qualifying run last week at Darlington with the Kansas pole speed with seven more of the playoff contenders qualifying in the top 10.

As it did last year in the postseason, the 1.5-mile speedway took a bite out of a playoff competitor early — Martin Truex Jr. on Lap 3.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver lost control of his No. 19 Toyota after a right rear tire went down. He subsequently smacked the Turn 3 wall, bowed out the right front wheel and finished last.

Last week’s victor at Darlington, Larson passed Bell and held the point after the first round of pit stops, then won Stage 1 by beating Wallace. Playoff driver William Byron spun on Lap 63 but was unscathed.

Wallace brought out the fourth caution when he had a right rear tire explode and scrubbed the wall. Last year’s race winner, Wallace lost four laps and finished 32nd.

Late in Stage 2, Brad Keselowski passed leader Chase Elliott and beat second-place Hamlin for the segment’s bonus points.