Tyler Reddick Hopeful for Cockpit Fix at Phoenix

The Richard Childress Racing No. 8 has been fast but its driver has been challenged.


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Tyler Reddick has contended for wins in each of the first three NASCAR Cup Series races of the new era, but it hasn’t been a particularly comfortable experience.

That’s because there is something about the Next Gen car that causes Reddick to lose sensation in his legs over the course of race. The 26-year-old has described it as similar to paresthesia -- the so-called feeling of your legs falling asleep.

It didn’t stop Reddick from leading 90 laps at Auto Club Speedway two weeks ago or running inside the top-five last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but those are not particularly brake sensitive tracks either. The Cup Series will race at Phoenix Raceway this weekend and drivers will be harder on the brakes than they have since the regular season began.

Reddick has said he hasn’t been able to feel his brake pedals once the numbness fully sets in.

At Fontana, his Richard Childress Racing team offered him everything from a rag to place under his legs to pickle juice or caffeine pills. This week, Reddick has sat in his seat at the shop in the hopes of finding a solution, but that doesn’t simulate car under loading in the corners.

All told, Reddick believes the issue stems from the radically different Next Gen cockpit.

"With this new car, a lot has changed, especially the depth of the cockpit from the old car," Reddick said. "Not a lot changed from the previous cars I drove, Xfinity and Trucks, which is a little bit different but (Brad Keselowski Racing) did a good job there.

"I think I made some mistakes about how I need to be sitting in this car. So, we've been able to pinpoint some areas where I think I just had my body in a bad posture -- not really allowing the weight of my body in the seat being distributed the way it should. Nothing like to the extent of having to change inserts ... Just moving some things around in the car seems to be better."

Reddick changed his diet and his fitness regimen over the winter and while his body didn’t change too incredibly much, he conceded that might be part of the challenge too.

"It could be, but weight wise I haven’t moved that much from where I was," Reddick said. "In the areas that I have changed shape, I don’t think it would. I just think it's with this being a brand-new race car and having a lot more options of where you can put the pedals in relation to the seat and I think that's what happened."

As it pertains to his seat insert, and upper body, Reddick says he hasn't felt more comfortable.

"If anything, I feel like I fit a little bit better, like more snug in it than I did," Reddick said. "It’s just those other things that we moved around unknowingly really."

Reddick has performed well in the car, but that has surprised him to a degree, because he likes to drive a loose race car.

The Next Gen right now is so inherently snappy loose, that drivers have having to learn to drive a much naturally snug set-up.

"I like having a car hung out and you can’t really have this car hung out anymore," Reddick said.

But he is recognized as one of the better car control drivers, and his team has prepared fast cars at the shop to start the season. Reddick earned his first top-10 of the season at Vegas, but that came after running up front in every race this year -- including the non-points Clash at the Coliseum.

"It’s definitely more difficult to drive," Reddick said. "There’s so much to different about this car that you can’t rely on, your old senses or marks.

"I mean for me it's been a lot of fun. I really do like the things that are different about this car. As to be expected with it, there are going to be some challenges … but this car, throughout the field, has provided more opportunities to hit it right and be able to run at the front of the field. But at the same time if you miss it really bad, you’re going to have a really tough day. There’s a lot to learn and we are going to continue to learn with this car."