Mini Tyrrell wanted to win the Throwback 276 for Ricky Hendrick.
Driving a car that honored the late driver’s short track paint scheme from the 1990s, Tyrrell put together a performance worthy of the Hendrick legacy by leading the opening 2/3 of the 138-lap feature.
A victory ultimately did not pan out for Tyrrell, as he ended up in the fourth position after suffering what he believed was a tire issue in the second half of the race.
“We had a left rear going down,” Tyrrell said. “It was down six pounds of air but it is what it is. I think I might have run the car a little too hard at the start but we salvaged a fourth place finish and it was great to see the Quaker State Chevy run up front again one last time.”
While he did not get his first CARS Tour victory, Tyrrell said that he has been looking for the consistent speed that his Late Model Stock showed on Saturday evening over the past several years.
Tyrrell formed a partnership with R&S Race Cars at Langley Speedway following a lackluster start to the 2021 season that saw him score only one Top 10 in five races.
The new alliance immediately paid off for Tyrrell, who backed up two qualifying runs inside the Top 5 at Langley and Dominion Raceway with sixth place finishes.
Saturday’s Throwback 276 was the most successful for Tyrrell with R&S Race Cars’ assistance. It only took Tyrrell a handful of laps before he passed the polesitter in Josh Berry from the fourth starting position.
Tyrrell controlled the Throwback 276 through the two competition cautions but knew his chances of winning were likely over once he began to feel the tire going soft in his Late Model Stock.
Tyrrell believes the leak could be partially attributed to him being too aggressive through the opening 80 laps.
“I could have definitely ridden a little bit more than I did,” Tyrrell said. “I felt like I let the car roll a little bit too hard in the center and it killed my right side tires. Josh [Berry] and Mason [Diaz] easily had the best cars but if we kept a little more tire on the car, then we would have had a shot.”
The fourth-place finish for Tyrrell was his fifth career Top 5 since joining the CARS Tour full-time back in 2019, with his best finish being a second at Dominion in 2020.
Although Tyrrell has observed his program get better with every passing year, he is confident that the partnership with R&S Race Cars puts him in an improved position to contend for wins on a regular basis.
Tyrrell admitted that the three consecutive Top 10s have been a pleasant surprise for him, as he is still trying to figure out how to maximize the potential of the new cars he has received.
“This is a building experience for us,” Tyrrell said. “We’ve gotten a bunch of new clips and other things, so there’s definitely been a learning curve for sure. We still went out there and led half the race, so that was pretty cool.”
Tyrrell has now paid tribute to Hendrick Motorsports twice in the Throwback 276, having previously run a scheme mirroring Jeff Gordon’s rainbow Dupont car from the late 1990s in the 2019 edition of the event.
The Ricky Hendrick tribute scheme was much more personal for Tyrrell knowing the impact he made towards building the future of Hendrick Motorsports while he was alive.
Even though he did not win the Throwback 276, Tyrrell took pride in the fact knowing that he proudly honored Hendrick’s legacy on Saturday.