Tyler Reddick has long been considered one of the hottest young drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series, only to be held back by his equipment at Richard Childress Racing. Although contracted to RCR through the 2023 season, he will jump to 23XI Racing and the Toyota stable beginning in 2024.
“Announcing a driver over a year before he will be racing with 23XI is a little unprecedented, but Tyler was the driver we wanted and we did not want to miss the opportunity to bring him to our team,” said team president Steve Lauletta. “In making the announcement now, the team has ample time to prepare for 2024 on the business side as we expect interest from potential partners and continue to see strong engagement from our current partners.”
Reddick is currently in his third full season of Cup racing. Earlier in July, after coming up short so many times, he finally broke through for his maiden series victory at Road America, and currently sits fourteenth in points with six other top tens. Last year, he scored sixteen top-ten finishes and made the playoffs, eventually placing thirteenth in the final classification.
While enjoying a solid career, many have speculated about RCR’s equipment preventing him from achieving his full potential and that he had been over-performing his team’s capabilities. As a result, he was often the subject of fan discourse about leaving the outfit for greener pastures. Nevertheless, he reaffirmed his commitment to RCR in 2023, and the short-term deal left him open in free agency beyond that.
Signing a team multiple years in advance is rare, though Reddick’s move is not a first-time occurrence. For example, Jamie McMurray signed with now-RFK Racing for the 2007 season in 2005. In April 2010, Hendrick Motorsports announced Kasey Kahne would take over the #5 from Mark Martin for 2012, and he spent the in-between slate with Team Red Bull before making the switch. Kevin Harvick revealed plans to join Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 while driving for RCR in late 2012, and SHR would also sign Clint Bowyer for 2017 during the 2015 calendar year; Harvick remained with RCR for 2013 while Bowyer did a one-year campaign with HScott Motorsports as they awaited their new rides to become open.
“I’m thrilled to have the chance to join this team and look forward to how I can contribute to the organisation,” commented Reddick. “23XI has accomplished a lot in the less than two full seasons they’ve been in the garage, and I can’t wait to be a part of that continued success. Until then, my focus remains on my current team, winning races and being competitive.”
23XI did not immediately state if they will expand to three cars in 2024 or if Reddick will replace either Kurt Busch or Bubba Wallace. If the latter occurs, many expect Busch to be on his way out via retirement as 23XI is deeply invested into Wallace as a founding team member.
“Tyler is one of the most sought-after young drivers and has been competitive in everything he’s raced,” added co-owner Denny Hamlin. “His work on the track speaks for itself and he will make a fantastic addition to our lineup in 2024. The team has seen a lot of growth since our first race and signing Tyler is a great next step for us to remain competitive for years to come.”
While much of Reddick’s career has been with Chevrolet, he drove a Toyota in his Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR national series début with Ken Schrader Racing at Rockingham Speedway in 2013.
RCR did not immediately reveal a replacement in the #8. The team’s Xfinity Series programme has a pair of rookies in Sheldon Creed and Austin Hill, the latter of whom is already a two-time race winner with a victory on Saturday. The team released a statement after the news: “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 timing of this announcement could not be any worse.