Cindric goes back-to-back, wins Xfinity Series at Mid-Ohio; Hawksworth takes 15th in NASCAR debut

Team Penske driver Austin Cindric went back-to-back in the Xfinity Series on Saturday, winning the B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for his second-straight win in the series. Cindric’s performance was a dominant one, winning from the pole and leading 46 of the race’s 75 laps and taking the checkered by 3.78 seconds over runner-up Christopher Bell.

“It feels good, two in row and going for three at Bristol,” Cindric said in Victory Lane. “I’ll probably go crazy if I win there. Should be a lot of fun. This is great momentum for our group.”

Cindric also took his No. 22 Penske Ford Mustaing to Victory Lane at Watkins Glen a week ago, narrowly taking the checkered flag following a dramatic last-lap battle with AJ Allmendinger.

Allmendinger, Tyler Reddick, and Noah Gragson rounded out the top-five. Allmendinger’s third-place finish was bittersweet for his Kaulig Racing team, as it was the first time in three starts with Allmendinger in 2019 that they weren’t disqualified following post-race tech. He had taken Kaulig Racing to a third-place run in the July Daytona event and a runner-up last weekend at Watkins Glen, but both finishes were disallowed and Allmendinger was credited with last-place finishes in both events.

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2018 Mid-Ohio winner Justin Allgaier finished sixth, while Chase Briscoe, Cole Custer, Justin Haley, and Brandon Jones rounded out the top-10. Former IndyCar driver and current IMSA regular Jack Hawksworth, who scored an IMSA class win at Mid-Ohio earlier this year, made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut with Joe Gibbs Racing in their No. 18 Toyota. He paced one of the practice sessions before qualifying second for the race and winning the second stage. Hawksworth would go on to finish 15th.

“First off, thank you to Joe Gibbs Racing for having me and to Toyota for putting it together; and of course to my team AVS Racing, IMSA and Lexus for allowing me to go do this Xfinity stint,” he told NBCSN. “I was having a lot of fun out there. Some good battles over the beginning. The first stint, I was struggling with the rear tires a little bit. The second stint we made it a little bit better.

“I was comfortable on those restarts going for the lead and felt pretty good about it; but then I think we had a little issue on that second stop so that kind of put us back there. Got grass on the grille on one of those restarts, then kind of lost the brakes and that was kind of all she wrote.

“Little bit of a shame, but I had a great time and the iK9 car was great. I just want to thank everyone for having me here, and we’ll have to come back at some point and give it another shot.”

The race was slowed by six cautions for 17 laps, while eight drivers led for 10 times over the course of the event. The Xfinity Series visits Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night for the Food City 300 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Monster Energy Cup regular Kyle Larson won the event in 2018.

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