Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Race Report
Track: ISM Raceway
Race: Whelen Trusted to Perform 200
Date: November 10, 2018
No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 3rd
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 3
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 8th (-1809)
Owners Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-1758)
Austin Cindric and the No. 22 Discount Tire team recorded a fourth-place finish Saturday afternoon at ISM Raceway (Phoenix, AZ) for his sixth top-five and 12th top-10 finish with one race remaining in the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
The rookie Playoff contender qualified his Ford third for the 200-mile event, the last race of the Round of 8 in the NXS Playoffs, needing a win to advance to the Championship 4.
As the green flag waved, Cindric fell to the fifth position, but quickly gained ground on the leaders, racing to the second position by lap 37, where he would remain at the end of the first stage. Crew chief Brian Wilson called Cindric down pit road at the stage break on lap 49 for four fresh tires and fuel. A fast stop by the No. 22 Ford team would allow the Mooresville, NC native to restart with the race lead on lap 53.
Although the restart wasn’t kind to Cindric and he was shuffled back to fourth place, he soon began running the fastest laps on track and put on an impressive battle for second place between the No. 42 of John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 20 of Christopher Bell, finishing stage two in the third position.
The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang pitted during the stage caution for four fresh tires and fuel and would restart fourth with 103 laps remaining.
As the caution-filled third stage progressed, Cindric would fall to the sixth position by lap 128. He methodically made up ground as the green flag run progressed racing his way up to the fourth position at the checkered flag.
Despite the top-five finish, Cindric was unable to advance to the Championship 4 in the Driver’s Championship as well as the Owners’ Championship at Homestead- Miami Speedway next weekend.
Quote: “I needed track position and a long green flag run. We had an awesome Discount Tire Ford Mustang today, something definitely capable of winning the race and locking us into Homestead, but we didn’t quite get what we needed to get going to that third stage. I was just relying on track position from there on out and got three cautions we didn’t need. I’m just really thankful to be in these Playoffs and in this system. I’m excited for Homestead next week. I think we’ve got a really good shot at going out there and being a surprise winner.”