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Tyler Reddick’s Michael ‘Jordan-Esque’ Performance Trumps ’Mr. Popularity’s’ Return to Victory Lane Claims NASCAR Insider

Winning more aces for 23XI Racing helped Tyler Reddick win over his son Beau in 2022, who used to be a Chase Elliott fan in his earlier years. But after the #45 Toyota shocked fans with the sight of the owner, his Airness, Michael Jordan himself, gracing the victory lane at Talladega, courtesy of Reddick’s incredible victory. Even NASCAR icon Kyle Petty has come forward to voice his admiration for the current #45’s rapid rise to fame in the 2024 season.

Kyle Petty hails Tyler Reddick’s victory even more impactful than Chase Elliott’s

Late last yearon Door Bumper Clear, Reddick would tell the cast how Beau’s initial favorite driver “was Chase for a very, very long time.” But after Elliott’s blatant misfortunes early into the season, led him on a 42-race winless streak, ending at Texas Motor Speedway one week ago, Reddick seems to have won charismatic Beau over, as he also “won some races.” An iconic NASCAR image for the near future will be Reddick’s young son sitting cradled in MJ’s arms as victory lane confetti fell all around the jubilant race team after Reddick’s first victory of the season for 23XI Racing.


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Moving on, as the festivities roll through the weekend, Kyle Petty has enriched the NASCAR community with his latest take on Talladega’s 188-lap showcase at the GEICO 500. And when he would bring his expert opinions to light regarding the #45 driver’s latest accomplishments, he showered only praises on Tyler Reddick.

Speaking about Reddick’s perilous advance on the final lap, Petty says, “I wanna talk about Tyler Reddick. When you see that in-car camera. That Focus, that dedication, and that commitment to the hole that wasn’t there, then was there. Gosh! I can’t explain that from a driver’s standpoint, what that means, and what you have to do to get to that point. Tyler Reddick got there yesterday. It was a Jordan-esque type of performance where he was so focused, he knew nothing that was going on, he was the ball. That was the basket….”

The King’s son would then compare Reddick’s victory with another emphatic race win we only witnessed last Sunday. “We also saw Michael Jordan go to Victory Lane. That’s huge for me. That is huge for this sport,” announced Petty, as he would explain, “When we go back to last week, and we see our most popular driver, Chase Elliott go to Victory Lane, I think, everybody thought, ‘What a great day for the sport, what a great day. Our Mr Popularity is back in Victory Lane.’ But to have an iconic basketball player, an iconic individual like Michael Jordan go to Victory Lane the following week for his first trip with his team 23XI, is a huge moment for this sport. It’ll be played out on Sports pages and on TV all across America today, you can count on it.”

But as Kyle Petty concluded his statement with a gracious “Thank You” to both Reddick and Jordan, let’s also look at the legacy, of the all-important number binding all these iconic characters together—the #45.


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The #45 binding Michael Jordan and the Petty family legacy

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Way before the G.O.A.T, Michael Jordan ever decided to turn his racing fandom into a reality, with his new-age collaborative NASCAR team, 23XI Racing, he was a huge Richard Petty fan playing college ball with the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the early ‘80s. Some might even be surprised knowing that the year His Airness won UNC-Chapel Hill their second NCAA Championship with a game-winning jump shot, he also met The King of NASCAR before the World 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Around 42 years later, MJ’s racing ventures with 23XI Racing seem to be on a stellar rise, with his #45 driver ensuring Jordan’s incredible presence in victory lane. It is only prophetic that Tyler Reddick now drives the #45 car, considering the number’s significance in the Petty family’s unimaginable legacy, alongside Jordan’s extensive career. It is even more symbolic that Kyle Petty now believes that “what we saw, also yesterday was that commitment and a future greatness that we’re going to see from Tyler Reddick.”


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Tragically, Kyle’s prodigal son, Adam Pettya fourth-generation NASCAR driver, is the reason this number is steeped today in stock car racing history. Driving the #45, on May 12, 2000, Adam lost his life after crashing into Turn 3 of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Petty Enterprises would run the #45 until their eventual merger with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports.

Ironically, MJ and Denny Hamlin would bring the number back in 2022 as 23XI’s second chartered entry with Kurt Busch in his final season. The elder Busch brother only got to finish half of the season driving the #45, after running his last-ever Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. On the other hand, Reddick seems to be living up to MJ’s number for the Chicago White Sox in his first cross-sport venture as a Minor League Baseball player. The #45 lies close to the heart of both of these iconic racing dynasties, and with an important victory at Talladega, the legacy looks set to grow for 23XI Racing.

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