Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
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The start of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season hasn’t been kind to several drivers, including some who made it to last year’s playoffs.
Two races into the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, several drivers haven’t had starts they didn’t want to have. In fact, several of those who have had tough starts to the second season of the Gen 7 era are drivers who were a part of last year’s playoff field.
Naturally, we can count on some of these drivers to figure it out and make their rough starts a distant memory. However, others are facing a far greater challenge to get back on track and get back to the postseason.
Here are five drivers who already need to have a sense of urgency after a tough start to the 2023 season.
NASCAR playoff drivers who need to panic: No. 1 – Tyler Reddick
Tyler Reddick signed with 23XI Racing for 2024 but ended up leaving Richard Childress Racing a year early to replace Kurt Busch, who retired from full-time competition as a result of the head injury he suffered at Pocono Raceway last year.
Reddick joined the young up-and-coming organization coming off of a season which saw him earn the first three wins of his career and qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season.
But nobody has had more of an abysmal start to the 2023 season than the driver of the No. 45 Toyota. He sits in last place (38th) among points-eligible drivers, and his top finish of 34th is the lowest among that group of 38, which includes three part-timers. You can’t even really call it a “finish”, as both of his results are DNFs. He is averaging two points per race.
I can’t be the only one who found it ironic to hear the Fox booth talking about Reddick’s struggles and citing how that it’s a “new team” and “new manufacturer” for him, in regard to his switch to 23XI Racing — as we all watched Kyle Busch literally drive Reddick’s (former) No. 8 car to a record-breaking victory in just his second start with Chevrolet since 2007.