Rising NASCAR star Tyler Reddick is expected to turn many heads this year as he emerges into the NASCAR Cup Series as an emerging Rookie who hopes to win races, impress his sponsors, and stay out of trouble on track. A native of Corning, CA, Reddick was tabbed to drive the #8 Chevrolet Camaro in NASCAR’s top division for Richard Childress Racing this year after winning back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series championships. Reddick is no stranger to racing, having been close to cars way before his NASCAR days.
“Before I ever sat in a race car for the first time, my parents worked at a dealership that was owned by my grandfather, and when I was about a week old, I was at the shop with my mom right after she had me.” Reddick recalls. “My love for cars came from that, and I grew up playing racing games, including NASCAR. Watching my dad race his modifieds really kick-started my passion for racing, and that’s really where the drive came from. At four and a half years old, I was able to start racing go karts. It was just a natural fit, and we just kept on rolling.”
NASCAR drivers are fully aware that driving a race car is no easy task. A lot of mental and physical preparation takes place before drivers climb into the seat every weekend, as races typically last 3-4 hours on average with no major breaks during the races.
“There are many things to prepare for, whether it be a hot and slick race, a six-hundred mile race or a five-hundred mile race that’s physically demanding. The physical and hydration aspects mean you have to take a lot more time to focus on those things, but now in today’s day in age people take a lot more time to study films, the analytics and probabilities before every race.” Reddick analyzes. “Technology allows us to let us know where we run every lap, how much throttle we’re using, how much brake we’re using, our steering input and engine speed, and ground speed. We use all of those resources before we even hit the track for practice, knowing that there’s never too much time to prepare and you have to pick and choose what you want to focus on.”
Driving a Racecar is physically demanding. Drivers are athletes who have to be at the top of their game at all times. Unlike other professional sports, they don’t get a bench to sit on and no real rest time during a race, which can last hours. “The first time you do the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 or even the Southern 500, which are the crown jewels of our sport, mentally you can make yourself exhausted before you even complete your first lap if you’re too anxious. It’s really important to make sure you have confidence in your car and your team. You never want to overwork yourself before your first lap. Reddick expresses. “During some of the more casual races, I might lose around 6 pounds. During one of the extreme races, you’ll lose up to 12-15 pounds, all depending on how hot it is inside the race car. During the races, a lot of things can happen beyond your control and it is important to get your heart rate back down for the rest of a 3-hour race.