NASCAR: Reddick "kisses the bricks" at Indy

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Aug. 4—This past weekend, the NASCAR traveling circus converged on Indianapolis, Indiana, with the Cup and Xfinity Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with the NTT IndyCar Series. The Camping World Truck Series headed a few miles west to Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park to kick off their playoff run.

Things kicked off Friday with the CWTS with their 207-lap "TSport 200," although it turned into the "TSport 207" after the wreck on lap 199 between John Hunter Nemechek (4) and Taylor Gray (17). After the green/white/checkered in NASCAR overtime, it was Grant Enfinger (23) out front when the checkered flag flew with a .477 second margin of victory over second place finisher Ben Rhodes (99).

Enfinger couldn't have picked a better time to get his first win of the 2022 season because now he is safely moving on to the next round of the playoffs. All the "points racing" the 23 team had done during the regular season to get Enfinger in the playoff without a win paid off.

"We've just been off a little bit as an organization," Enfinger told FS1's reporter on the front stretch. "We've been working so hard because we've been sucking. It hurts to say it, but we've had a terrible season to this point. But we had a great Chevrolet all day. It felt like every time we got into the lead, a caution came out and it put Hensley in a bad spot. I knew from experience to just trust his gut."

The "TSport 200" took two hours, one minute and 47 seconds to complete at an average race speed of 69.961 mph. The field saw the caution flag 10 times for a total of 78 laps around the .686-mile raceway. There would also be 12 lead changes between six drivers.

On Saturday over at the "big track," the NTT Indy Car Series were the first race of the day on the Indy Road Course for their 85-lap "Gallagher Grand Prix" where Alexander Rossi (27) came home with the win over second place Christian Lundgaard (30) with a 3.544 second margin of victory.

Their race took one hour, 48 minutes and 39 seconds to complete at an average race speed of 114.483 mph. The IndyCar drivers went under caution two times for five total caution laps. There were six lead changes between five drivers.

Later that day, the NXS ran the 62-lap "Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard." It was points leader and road course expert AJ Allmendinger (16) in his Nutrien Ag Solution Kaulig Racing Chevrolet first to the finish line for his third win of the season on the Indy Road Course with a 2.084 second margin of victory over second place Cup interloper Alex Bowman (17).

"God, I love this place," Allmendinger exclaimed on the front stretch to the NBC Sports reporter. "I knew Bowman was really good at the long runs, and so I tried to gap him as much as I could. God, I love Indy."

"We gave up stage points a little bit there as well, to the guys we're fighting for points," Allmendinger said. "But you know what? Points don't mean a damn thing — we're kissing the bricks. Hell, yeah!"

The 62-lap "Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard" took one hour, 56 minutes and 35 seconds to complete the event at an average race speed of 77.825 mph. The caution flag flew only four times for 11 laps with two of those being for stage breaks. There were eight lead changes between six drivers.

Sunday was time for the big boys of the Cup Series to play on the Indy Road Course for their 86-lap "Verizon 200 at the Brickyard."

It was an action-filled race, with log jams of cars diving in four and five wide into turn one, a brake failure causing Kyle Larson (5) to slam at almost full speed into Ty Dillion (42) in to turn one or cars like Denny Hamlin (11) spinning out by themselves or with help on Hallman Boulevard (the "back stretch" of the road course).

If fans didn't leave Indy with their fill of racing, they may need to see a professional.

A late race caution for track workers pulling Austin Dillion (3) from the gravel trap turned out to be the last caution and set up a controversial restart that saw Ross Chastain (1) and Austin Dillion (3) dodge the turn one melee by going straight toward turn four on the big track and cut back in using a safety truck access road to rejoin the field, with Chastain rejoining in first place.

This set off an intense, late-race battle between Chastain and the eventual race winner, Tyler Reddick (8).

Chastain may have crossed the finish line in second behind Reddick, but he would not get the finishing spot. Chastain and Dillion failed to use the motorcycle course loop in turn 12 to come to a complete stop. To serve the penalty for going off course, both drivers were issued a 30-second penalty post-race. This dropped Chastain from a second-place finish to a 27th place finish and Dillion to 30th place finish.

"Well, we just know what we're capable of, and we did that at Road America," said Reddick to the NBC Sports' reporter. "Certainly, [the team change announcement] was a little bump in the road, but we went out and won a race fair and square a couple weeks ago, and if we change nothing, we keep working really, really hard, we find a way back to Victory Lane."

Reddick continued "Just really glad to be able to do it here in Indianapolis. This is one really special place to race, and really excited to kiss the bricks here in a little bit and really excited we got [sponsor] 3CHI their win in their hometown."

Reddick crossed the finish line with a 1.065 second margin of victory in the "Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard" that took two hours, 40 minutes and 18 seconds to complete at an average race speed of 78.511 mph. The drivers were under caution only five times for a total of 15 caution laps with two of those being for stage breaks. There were nine lead changes between seven drivers.

Next up on the calendar, NASCAR heads to the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The Cup and Xfinity series will continue their march to the playoffs, while the CWTS takes a weekend off before they head to Richmond, Virginia, August 13.