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Tyler Reddick avoids Texas trouble, secures third Cup Series victory

Tyler Reddick steered clear of trouble in the opener to the Cup Series Playoffs’ Round of 12, prevailing Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Tyler Reddick steered clear of trouble in a chaotic opener to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Round of 12, prevailing Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Reddick led a race-high 70 of the 334 laps in Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500. His third victory of the season was also the third of his Cup Series career.

The outcome made it four straight wins for drivers without championship eligibility to open the postseason, denying the 12 remaining playoff drivers an automatic berth into the next round. Reddick had qualified for the 16-driver playoff field but was eliminated after last weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Joey Logano finished second in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, 1.19 seconds behind the race winner. Justin Haley placed third with Ryan Blaney fourth and Chase Briscoe completing the top five.

A handful of playoff drivers had issues before the race’s first two stages were out, starting the tally on what would amount to a track-record 16 yellow flags. Among them was regular-season champ Chase Elliott, who led 44 laps but crashed out while heading the field. His No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet completed just 184 laps and finished 32nd in the 36-car field. Two other drivers crashed out while leading, as tire issues sidelined Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. in the final stage.

Alex Bowman, a teammate to Elliott, also found trouble as he also made contact with the Turn 4 wall. His No. 48 Chevy continued after the Lap 96 caution period, placing five laps down in 29th.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, the model of consistency in the opening round, was also an early exit after separate incidents before the halfway point. His No. 20 Toyota was too damaged to continue, and he wound up 34th.

Cody Ware was treated and released from the infield care center after a hard hit with his No. 51 Ford midway through the 500-miler. His Rick Ware Racing team released a statement saying the 26-year-old driver would return home after the race, and RWR representative Robby Benton said that X-rays at the track showed no fractures. Benton added that he had some discomfort in one of his ankles, and that he would follow up with a specialist at Ortho Carolina this week as a precaution.

The race was red-flagged for rain showers and lightning after 220 laps were complete, just before the start of the final stage. That 56-minute delay pushed the finish under the lights.

The Cup Series’ next race is the YellaWood 500, scheduled Sunday, Oct. 2 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway. It’s the middle event in the three-race Round of 12.

This story will be updated.