Tyler Reddick felt evenly matched with Kyle Larson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but he needed Larson to be the one in dirty air.

Reddick’s 23XI Racing Toyota Camry was fast enough to chase Larson’s No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet down over the final 10 laps, but he couldn’t do anything with him. Larson air-blocked Reddick and took away the options Reddick had to try to make a pass for victory in the Pennzoil 400.

“We were pretty evenly matched, so I don’t know if there was anything that I really could’ve done to get around him,” Reddick said Sunday after finishing second. “He would have had to make a big mistake or had some traffic kind of knock his wind around. I needed some fortune; I didn’t make any for myself today with mistakes on pit road.

“It’s a solid effort for our team. That’s how we need to run, but I don’t like running second.”

Reddick was over 1s behind Larson with 18 laps to go. He cut the gap to 0.5s with 13 laps to go and was on Larson’s bumper with three laps to go. Over the final laps, Reddick tried different lanes through the corners, hoping to stay out of Larson’s wake. Reddick mostly ran the high lane while Larson kept to the bottom or the middle.

The strategy of knowing he couldn’t follow Larson into a corner got Reddick to his back bumper, but then he could only follow Larson for the final two laps and even gave up trying to go to the high lane. Reddick said Larson took away all of his options.

“Sorry, guys,” a frustrated Reddick said over his team radio after the checkered flag. “We should have won that race.”

He was also frustrated by pit road. After finishing the first stage in second position to Larson, Reddick lost all of his track position (falling to 16th place) when he slid the front tires entering his pit stall, and the car angled to the left. It was an awkward position to try to exit his stall, and he needed to back up and straighten out before leaving pit road.

“I feel like we were never up front really all day long until it got to the stage ends,” Reddick said. “We had a really good Nasty Beast Toyota Camry. Just stupid mistakes on pit road. Same , different year. Kind of frustrating. We’ll continue to work on it, but a good rebound for our team today.”

Reddick finished second in both stages and the race. He started from the 18th position.

A caution in the final stage aided the rebound. Reddick closed the gap to 0.5s behind Larson with the drafting help of lapped teammate Bubba Wallace before a round of green flag pit stops with less than 60 laps to go. But Reddick cycled out over 2s behind Larson and was 1.5s behind when the final caution flew with 33 laps to go.

Reddick came off pit road third and lined up behind the No. 5 on the inside lane for the restart. When his initial charge to the inside was blocked by Larson going into Turn 1, Reddick settled into third position before making his way around Ross Chastain for second place with 21 laps to go to be able to focus on chasing Larson for the victory.

“Second sucks, that’s for sure, but we had a really fast Nasty Beast Toyota Camry,” Reddick said. “We should have been up there battling even more than we were throughout the day; just put us behind, unfortunately. We had to fight back through that all day as the field got better, it got harder to get back to the front as quick.

“You have to run up front all day long and when asked about what we need to do to get better, that’s the very thing, and didn’t do it today.”

When asked when the sting would wear off, Reddick said, “It won’t.”