NASCAR & Auto Racing

Future NASCAR star? Tyler Reddick making his mark in truck series

Tyler Reddick, 19, celebrates his trucks victory Feb. 20 in the season-opening race at Daytona. Reddick also won Sunday at Dover and is second in the standings, 11 points behind leader Matt Crafton.
Tyler Reddick, 19, celebrates his trucks victory Feb. 20 in the season-opening race at Daytona. Reddick also won Sunday at Dover and is second in the standings, 11 points behind leader Matt Crafton. AP

It hasn’t taken long for Tyler Reddick to establish himself as one of the promising young drivers in the NASCAR world.

Reddick won his second Camping World Truck Series race of the year last weekend at Dover, showing veteran-like savvy in overtaking Erik Jones with seven laps remaining and keeping the lead to the end.

Reddick moved within 11 points in the standings of back-to-back series champion Matt Crafton, and goes into Friday’s WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway with plenty of momentum.

Not too shabby for a 19-year-old.

“The truck series is where the stars get their start in NASCAR,” TMS president Eddie Gossage said. “And Tyler is somebody that I’m very aware of because you’re always looking to see who the next young talent is to come along.

“He’s got a bright future. I always check the box score after the truck race to see how he did, as well as Erik Jones [who is also 19].”

Reddick grew up in a racing family with his dad, Clarence, running motocross, and his grandfather also involved in the sport. That led him to start his racing days early, taking up Outlaw Karts at age 4.

He has been on the fast track ever since, racking up several distinctions in dirt-track racing for being the youngest driver to accomplish things such as making the World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Ohio, winning a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series feature event and winning the East Bay Winter Nationals.

All of that success helped Reddick catch on with Brad Keselowski Racing in November 2013. He ran a limited schedule in the truck series last year before earning a full-time ride this season.

And he’s taken full advantage of it. He won the season-opening race at Daytona, and went on to finish in the top-five in three of the next four races before his latest win at Dover.

“Obviously his background is in dirt, not asphalt, but he’s always had raw speed,” said Doug Randolph, Reddick’s crew chief since he joined Keselowski’s team.

“And I give Tyler credit because he’s learned how to win a race and he’s learned what our racing is all about. You’re starting to see that killer instinct in him, and he’s definitely shown some maturity beyond his age.

“I do believe he is one for the future — he’ll be racing on Sundays probably sooner than later.”

Reddick sure wouldn’t mind continuing the climb up the racing ladder, so to speak. He knows the best way to do that is to pile up more wins and contend for a championship.

His season-opening win at Daytona was important to show he could do it, and his second win at Dover was important to show the first wasn’t a fluke.

It seems like only a matter of time before more come his way.

“Getting the Daytona win was really a way to set the tone for what’s been done this year,” Reddick said. “We’ve been really strong all year and we just need to keep fighting.

“Our team is getting better and better, and becoming more comfortable working together.”

Texas presents its own challenges to Reddick. He got caught up in an early wreck at this race a year ago, and finished 21st. But last fall, he won the pole and finished fourth.

That, coupled with last week’s win, have Reddick and his team coming in with confidence. They would love nothing more than to have their No. 19 Ford visit Victory Lane for a second consecutive week.

Haley honorary starter

TMS announced that former Cowboys defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Charles Haley will serve as the honorary starter for Saturday’s Firestone 600.

Haley will wave the green flag to kick off the IndyCar race featuring drivers such as reigning series champion Will Power, reigning Indy 500 champ Juan Pablo Montoya and three-time Indy 500 champ Helio Castroneves.

Haley is part of the eight-member 2015 Hall of Fame class, and will be inducted Aug. 9 in Canton, Ohio. He holds a record for playing on five Super Bowl winning teams, including the Cowboys’ titles in the 1992, 1993 and 1995 seasons.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison