It was a race that had everything. Thrilling battles for the win, good clean racing for the majority of the race, and then wild chaotic late-race restarts. But in the end, the best car took the win as Tyler Reddick took the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota Camry TRD to victory lane.
Reddick led a race-high 41 laps, but he had to constantly battle with polesitter William Byron for the race lead all race long.
However, in the closing laps, and the ensuing multiple overtime restart attempts, it was Reddick that was in the right position to capitalize. And capitalize he did. For Reddick, having the dominant car on the day was something to be proud of.
"It means the world," Reddick said of the strength of his No. 45 machine. "This whole 23XI team has been working so hard all winter long to make the road course program better. Was extremely motivated to come in here and prove that performance, too.
"Just so proud of this Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD. Toyota, everybody, all the resources they've been putting into this to help turn around the road course program means a lot."
The 27-year-old driver was flawless in the closing laps and reached the finish line 1.411 seconds ahead of Richard Childress Racing's Kyle Busch, who finished the race in second.
After a wild race, Reddick was a little worn out, but thankfully he has the perfect sponsor -- Monster Energy -- to help him out in that situation.
"I'm out of gas. But I feel a little bit better with Monster Energy," Reddick laughed.
While Busch is usually not a driver that is pleased with a runner-up finish, he felt good coming home second to Reddick considering just how fast that No. 45 car and its driver was on Sunday.
"Tyler obviously is a really good road racer. He proved it driving this car here last year," Busch explained. "I was able to get in it and run right back to him. I've been trying to emulate the things he did in order to make this car fast last year, but not quite all the way there.
"[23XI] had a whale of a car. Want to thank NetSpend for being on our car, Austin, hometown partner in Austin, Texas. Excited to get them a runner-up finish."
Alex Bowman, who was in the middle of some pushing and shoving in the closing laps with Daniel Suarez, came home in third. Not only did Bowman have to work his way through a minefield of cars pushing and shoving late in the race, but he also had to contend with a cool suit that wasn't working properly all race long.
"It probably wouldn't have been that bad if my interior stuff worked," Bowman said of his day. "When this Coolshirt doesn't work, it just heat soaks, kind of cooks you. I'm hot. It stopped working pretty early. I don't have issues with stuff from Hendrick Motorsports very often. Shout-out to all the guys back at the shop. This road crew, I'm not the greatest road course racer, so to come here and run top five again means a lot.
"It was a hot day. Proud of the 45. A heck of a road course racer. Fastest car definitely won today. Wish our Ally Camaro was a couple spots better. All in all a good day for us."
While Bowman overcame adversity to finish third, he had nothing on Ross Chastain. Somehow Chastain, who drives the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, rallied to finish fourth after being involved in one of the late race pileups.
"When we got spun, I think we restarted down at Niece Equipment south of town," Chastain quipped. "To come back to a top five was a top effort for our Worldwide Express team."
Byron, the other dominant force on the day, faded to finish fifth.
Austin Cindric, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, Ty Gibbs and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Corey LaJoie, who has impressed mightily in the No. 7 Spire Motorsports entry this season, continued his impressive start to the season with an 11th-place finish. At one point in the race, LaJoie was two laps down.
Additionally, Kyle Larson refused to quit despite being piledriven by Bubba Wallace on Lap 11, and then being spun out by Denny Hamlin a lap later. After the early incidents, Larson would eventually suffer a broken toe-link, which seemed to be the nail in the coffin for the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
However, Larson hung in there, and with the late-race cautions, Larson received the free passes he needed to get back on the lead lap. When the checker flag flew, Larson was in 14th-position.
Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade, LAT Images, Courtesy of Toyota Racing