NASCAR: Tyler Reddick not locked into playoffs after COTA

Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Tyler Reddick won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas, but he still has work to do to secure a playoff spot.

Tyler Reddick’s rough start to the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season — and his tenure with 23XI Racing — seems like a distant memory.

Reddick reeled off his third consecutive top five finish in Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, and he did it with a dominant win, leading 41 laps of the 75-lap race around the 20-turn, 3.426-mile (5.514-kilometer) Austin, Texas road course and withstanding the pressure from behind him on three straight overtime restarts.

The win is the fourth of Reddick’s career, all since last July, and his third win in a road course race.

However, the win didn’t officially lock Tyler Reddick into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for the third straight season.

Through six races, the 2023 season has already seen five winners. There are still 20 races remaining on the regular season schedule, and there are 16 playoff spots, meaning that the playoff format technically isn’t guaranteed to be a “win and in” format.

The 16 playoff spots are awarded to the regular season champion, whether he wins any races or not, and the 15 drivers who rank next highest in wins.

This means that drivers who win a race aren’t locked into the playoffs this early in the season, since there can still end up being more than 16 winners (or more than 15, in the event of a winless regular season champion).

If this ends up being the case, the tiebreaker among single-race winners to determine who advances to the postseason and who doesn’t is points.

Winning two races is the only way to lock into the playoffs this early in the season. At most, there can be 13 multi-race winners in the regular season.

The only one of the 2023 season’s five winners who is locked into the playoffs so far is Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron, who won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. Despite the 100-point penalty he was issued after securing his second win of the year, both of his wins still count toward playoff eligibility, securing him his fifth straight postseason berth.

Aside from Reddick, the other one-race winners so far this season are JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch, and Team Penske’s Joey Logano.

Busch leads the single-race winners in the point standings, sitting in second place. Logano is just behind him in a third place tie. Reddick sits in a 10th place tie, just ahead of Stenhouse in 12th.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season’s seventh race is the Toyota Owners 400, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Richmond Raceway beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 2. Both of last year’s winners at Richmond Raceway, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, are winless this season. Begin a free trial of FuboTV today and don’t miss it!