“I feel like I’m a living the dream,” he said. “I think a lot of kids would want to be doing what I am. I consider this a real blessing.”
The 17-year-old Reddick is better known these days as “The California Kid” in racing circles, dirt track and otherwise. Reddick raced last Sunday at the Bullring in the “Clash for the Cash,” winning a heat race and finishing eighth in the 40-lap main feature that paid $3,000 to win.
Reddick’s family moved to Illinois in 2007 to get their dirt-track prodigy closer to the center of the turn-left universe. Reddick has been racing late models since he was 12 and earlier this year landed a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride in Rockingham.
The last two years he has been schooled on the Internet since he spends most of his time traveling the Midwest and other parts of the nation chasing the big races and big purses.
“I can take a lot of this experience I am getting and put it to use when I’m an adult,” Reddick said.
Tyler’s mom and dad, Geri and Clarence, plus other family members, are normally close by on the road. They do their best to keep him well-grounded.
“We try and make sure he gets back home (to DuQuoin) for a big high school football or basketball game,” Geri said. “But he’s never been able to go to a dance or a prom … he’s been racing.”
Tyler’s mom says he has been “driving things” since he was about 3-years-old. She said he demonstrated above-average ability behind a wheel almost from the moment he fastened his first seat belt. His mom said he was “sliding his tires” from the moment he drove his first “Bigfoot.”
Reddick said there are times he likes to “get away” from the world, but never veers too far from the nearest garage.
“I love to work on my car,” he said. “I can really get into ‘my zone’ doing that.”
Reddick said he and his family are trying to nurture his career toward NASCAR as much as possible. He’ll eventually be turning his interests toward pavement, but for the immediate future he’ll be concentrating on dirt, picking out as many of the top specials and crown-jewel events as possible to attend.
Reddick may be back for the second round of the “Clash for the Cash” in Quincy on Aug. 11, but that date is not yet carved in stone on his schedule. After all, there may be a dance he needs to go to on that weekend.