Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Race Report
Track: Richmond Raceway
Race: Go Bowling 250
Date: September 20, 2019
No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Start: 1st (7th career pole)
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 8
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-48)
Austin Cindric and the No. 22 MoneyLion team had a solid opening race to the NASCAR Xfinity Playoffs Friday night at Richmond Raceway. Cindric scored a second-place finish, his 11th top-five of the 2019 season. The driver of the MoneyLion Ford claimed his third top-five in four starts at Richmond Raceway, pushing his average finish at the .75-mile speedway to an impressive 5.5. He remains fourth in NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, four points behind third-place Tyler Reddick and 48 points behind leader Christopher Bell.
The driver of the MoneyLion Mustang started his Playoff run with an impressive qualifying run on Friday afternoon. His lap of 22.708 seconds, 118.901 mph gave him the pole for the 250-lap race, his first pole position at Richmond and fourth of the 2019 season. Cindric now has seven poles in 61 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts.
At the drop of the green flag, Cindric led the first six laps of the race but slipped back to third by lap 21. By lap 51 Cindric said the balance on the MoneyLion Ford was free on the initial run and then tight in the center for the short runs. Cindric raced his way back to second-place by the conclusion of Stage 1 on lap 75. Crew chief Brian Wilson made the call to pit for four tires and fuel during the stage caution. The MoneyLion crew did a solid job on the pit stop, keeping Cindric in second position when the race went green on lap 83.
The 21-year-old took the lead on the restart and led the next two laps before Bell found a way by on lap 86. Stage 2 ran caution free and Cindric said his No. 22 Mustang got tight during the long stretch of green. Cindric finished fifth when the segment concluded on lap 150. Wilson called his driver to pit road on lap 154 during the stage caution for an air pressure adjustment along with four fresh Goodyear tires. Another fast stop by the MoneyLion crew moved Cindric up to third position for the restart on lap 158.
Cindric slipped back to fourth on the restart but over the course of a long run he was able to make up the lost distance. The third and final stage also went green, which allowed Cindric to race his way to the second-place before the conclusion of the 250-lap event.
Quote: “This is the only double-digit buffer (ahead of the cutoff position) I think I’ve ever had in NASCAR, so I’ll take it. We had a good night in our MoneyLion Ford Mustang. Two runner-up finishes here at Richmond is good, but you want to win races. I’ve got to keep working and keep figuring out how to catch that guy in the 20 (Bell) but overall it was a great day.”