Tyler Reddick shocked the NASCAR world today when he announced that he would be joining the 23XI racing team for the 2024 season. Read that again. And now one more time, just to make sure. Yes, Reddick is moving to 23XI in a whopping 18 months. In the meantime, he’ll stick it out with his current team, Richard Childress Racing.
Signing with a team well in advance isn’t a new phenomenon in NASCAR, as journalist Nate Ryan points out in a Twitter thread. Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, and Jamie McMurray have all made early announcements at one time or another — but it’s still an uncommon thing.
And RCR doesn’t seem to be taking it very well. The team posted a tweet that read, “We’re proud of the success Tyler Reddick has found at Richard Childress Racing. We’re focused on winning a championship in 2022 and 2023, although the timing of this announcement could not be worse.”
The timing is a little strange. Just under two weeks ago, on July 3, Reddick took victory at Road America’s Kwik Trip 250, his first win in the NASCAR Cup Series. In addition, Reddick has finished second twice and third once — and with that win, cements his entrance into the Playoffs to fight for a championship. It’s a good time for RCR to start thinking about the future, but it looks like Reddick has, too.
According to USA Today, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about whether Reddick will replace one of the two current 23XI drivers — Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch — or if the team will field a third entry. Reddick was asked about RCR’s comment and said the following:
“It’s always a difficult thing whenever two partners or two pieces or our relationship is going to come to an end. But I feel like it gives everyone time to figure out what lies ahead. What is the next step? Where do we go from here?
“So, for me and in my opinion, I feel like it’s better to do it now than in the playoffs. It’s better to do it now. There’s no there’s no reason to kick the can down the road. We know what lies ahead, and we now all know what’s in front of us and what we need to do.”
Has Reddick shot himself in the foot with this move? It’s hard to tell — but I can’t imagine RCR is going to be itching to share many trade secrets with a driver who’s already looking for his exit.
Meanwhile, current NASCAR Xfinity driver Noah Gragson has managed to throw his name into the ring for the RCR seat by tweeting nothing but a smiley face.