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27-02-15


FRESH OFF DAYTONA WIN, REDDICK FOCUSES ON ATLANTA

HAMPTON, Ga. -- An understated piece of history happened last weekend at Daytona International Speedway when Ford Racing swept all three NASCAR national series races to open the NASCAR season, fresh off a victory in the prestigious Rolex 24 a few weeks prior.



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For the NASCAR national series portion, it all started with 19-year-old Tyler Reddick.

The Brad Keselowski Racing driver wasted no time picking up his first win of the year -- first of his career, too -- when he took the checkered flag in the Camping World Truck Series season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway last Friday. The victory continued a dominant Daytona showing for Ford, which, following the Jamie McMurray/Kyle Larson-fueled Rolex win, saw a one-two Roush Fenway Racing finish for Ryan Reed (his first, too) and Chris Buescher in the XFINITY Series opener Alert Today Florida 300 and Joey Logano's first Daytona 500 win on Sunday.

"It was really awesome for Ford to be able to sweep at Daytona," Reddick said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "I believe it's the first time a manufacturer has been able to … and it was nice to be able to break the Toyota streak at Daytona for the Fords, and was able to get them a win in the Truck Series, which is great. 

"It was an ideal weekend for Ford and I was just really happy to just be a part of that and be the second step out of the four. I'm just really happy for everybody. Doug Yates, Jeff Clark, there are a lot of great people over at Roush Yates and I'm just really happy to get (a win) for them and the rest of the people over at Ford.”

As exciting as last week was for the young driver, he's already got Georgia on his mind -- specifically Saturday's Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1).

The Truck Series didn't run at Atlanta in 2014 -- this race will be the second of a rare NASCAR national series double-header, combined with an earlier XFINITY race -- so it's not like we can look at last year's results to see how Reddick will fare at the 1.5-mile track.

Looking at his stats, however, it's clear the California native is comfortable on this configuration, as two of his three career top-five finishes before Daytona came at Chicagoland Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Not only that -- the BKR prodigy noted that his Ford F-150 team's intermediate package is even better than their superspeedway set.

"Honestly, I (have) more confidence in our mile-and-a-half package," Reddick said. "We had a really outstanding superspeedway package, but superspeedways are kind of a wild card and anything can happen on those type of race tracks. I was more looking forward to getting back to the mile-and-a-halves than anything. We were really good on them as we closed out the year. 

"I'm really excited to be at Atlanta for the first time. I've seen a lot of great racing here over the years. There have been a lot of great finishes and hopefully we can add to that list of great finishes and good runs Saturday.”

In an ideal world for Reddick, he'd finish first and his boss -- Brad Keselowski, also running the race -- would be right behind him in his own No. 29 BKR ride.

Knowing Keselowski's goofy, joking nature, you'd almost expect the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion to be ribbing his young protégé all week at the shop, but Reddick laughed off any good-natured trash talk, "no, not at all."

It might be because Keselowski thinks so highly of him.

"Tyler is just a natural behind the wheel, plain and simple," Keselowski said Friday in his blog at BradRacing.com. "You can't teach some of the things he can do in a race car." 

Trash talk or no trash talk, Reddick knows having his boss out on the track with him is going to be an invaluable experience.

"I'm really excited to be racing against my boss Saturday night," said Reddick. "It'll be nice to race against Brad and I'm definitely gonna be able to get a lot of help from him. If it would go perfectly I'd like to build on (the Daytona) win with another win, but, realistically, we've got to come in here and do everything we can to leave with another top-five finish. 

"I'm really confident in my crew and in our truck," Reddick said before adding one last quip. "I'll see you guys back here (in the media center) on Saturday."

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