HIGHLAND, Ill. — Part-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitor Tyler Reddick made his dramatic return to dirt ovals on Saturday night at Highland Speedway, as he led the final 26 laps en route to capturing his first DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory and the $10,000 checkered flag.
Reddick, an 18-year-old Corning, Calif. native, has been absent from Dirt Late Models since the World of Outlaws World Finals last November while he competed on a limited basis for 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski in the Camping World Truck Series. Following a break in NASCAR action this week, Reddick and his father Clarence managed to get one of their two Bloomquist Race Cars ready for this weekend’s DIRTcar Summer Nationals action.
Reddick started the race on the outside of pole-sitter Bobby Pierce, who managed to grab the race lead for the opening two laps of the 40-lap feature event. Pierce and third-place starter Jason Feger battled side-by-side for the lead for a couple of laps as Feger claimed the top spot on lap three, before handing it back to Pierce the next lap.
As the two leaders battled, Reddick lurked in their rearview mirrors. Pierce controlled the lead until lap nine, when a hard-charging Reddick made his way back to the front of the field and rocketed around the leader Pierce.
Friday night winner Brandon Sheppard, who started the race in the fifth position, looked to go back-to-back as he worked his way to the front, passing Pierce for second on lap 16. Sheppard had some work to do in order to catch the leader, who had already built a large lead on second just two laps after capturing the lead. With 10 laps to go that lead would be wiped away as the leader was slowed by lapped traffic.
Sheppard would get to Reddick’s back bumper, but the leader, who was running the faster low-line, held on to lead the final 26 laps and claim the victory over the defending DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion at Highland Speedway.
“It’s been a long time since we won a race so this is exciting,” said Reddick whose only Dirt Late Model win came on Feb. 9, 2011 at Eastbay Raceway Park. “This was an unplanned race and here we are — $10,000 richer, won a Summer Nationals race and going to Haubstadt (Indiana’s Tri-State Speedway) tomorrow to hopefully get another win.”
Brian Shirley, Bobby Pierce and Billy Moyer rounded out the top five. Heat race winners included Jason Feger, Billy Moyer, Bobby Pierce and Tyler Reddick
Tyler Reddick, Brandon Sheppard, Brian Shirley, Bobby Pierce, Billy Moyer, Jason Feger, Ryan Unzicker, Michael Kloos, Shannon Babb, Kent Robinson, Jason Jaggers, Chad Zobrist, Matt Weidner, Jim Moon, Randy Korte, Curtis Roberts, Brian Divley, Matt Taylor, Frankie Martin, Jason Riggs, Mike Schulte, Rick Salter.