When Austin Dillon crashed out of Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway, it appeared that his Richard Childress Racing teammate Tyler Reddick would all but lock up a berth in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs by virtue of finishing so far ahead of Dillon in the final running order.
As it turned out, though, Reddick ran into his own trouble late in the race and ended up finishing poorly himself. So instead of padding his lead over Dillon for the 16th and final playoff berth, Reddick actually lost three points and saw his lead shrink from 28 points to 25 points heading into Saturday night’s regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway. So provided no driver outside of the top 16 scores his first win of the season this weekend, Reddick and Dillon will settle the final playoff spot between themselves.
The question is which one of the Richard Childress Racing drivers has the upper hand. While the advantage is clearly Reddick in terms of points, Dillon is a former winner at Daytona, having gone to Victory Lane at the 2018 Daytona 500 in his No. 3 Chevrolet. So, it’s well within the realm of possibility that Reddick could finish Saturday night’s race with more points than Dillon but lose the final playoff spot to his teammate. This is all hinging on Dillon winning the race, though. How determined is he to do just that? “Very,” said the grandson of team owner RIchard Childress. “The guys have worked so hard.”