Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Race Report
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300
Date: November 2, 2019
No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 38
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 7th (-96)
Austin Cindric and the No. 22 Discount Tire team led 38 laps and scored a solid third-place finish in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Cindric moved up to seventh in the driver point standings, 96 points behind the series leader Christopher Bell, with one race remaining in the Round of Eight in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.
The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang started 14th and worked his way to 11th early in the 200-lap, 300-mile race. Under the first caution, Cindric communicated as the run progressed, his Discount Tire Mustang began to tighten up. Cindric was credited with an eighth-place Stage 1 finish, when crew chief Brian Wilson called for four new Goodyear tires, fuel and a slight adjustment to help free-up the Mustang. Fast service by the Discount Tire pit crew gained Cindric two positions, allowing him to restart fifth when the race went green on lap 52.
Cindric slipped to the eighth position during the second stage, still fighting a tight Mustang. The caution was displayed on lap 79 and Wilson made the call to bring Cindric down pit road for four tires, fuel and more adjustments. He would restart 14th with six-laps remaining in Stage 2. Cindric would drive his Mustang back inside the top-10 and was credited with a seventh-place finish to conclude Stage 2.
Previously pitting allowed the No. 22 Discount Tire Mustang to remain on track during the stage break, giving the 21-year-old the lead for the restart. Cindric held off a hard charging Cole Custer to remain in the top position for the next 38 laps. When the pace was slowed for the sixth time on lap 128, Cindric led the field down pit road for service and would restart from the third position on lap 134.
On the restart, Cindric avoided near disaster while the field was jockeying for position. The car in-front of Cindric got loose, almost collecting the Discount Tire Ford. Cindric backed off the throttle, missing the sideways car, but fell back to seventh once the mayhem was over. The Mooresville N.C., native raced his way to fifth before the seventh caution was displayed on lap 141. Able to make the race distance there, Wilson called the driver of the Discount Tire Ford down pit road for fuel only. Cindric would restart eighth with 56 laps remaining.
Over the course of the remaining final laps, Cindric was able to race his way to the third position by the conclusion of the 300-mile race.
Quote: “We had a fast-enough Discount Tire Ford Mustang to win the race, no doubt. Given the right track position we could have done it. We had great execution all day. Wish we hadn’t gotten unlucky on some of those restarts and maybe been on the front row for a couple of those final restarts. I knew my job was to be the best pusher and clear the 20 and I did that, but I wasn’t able to clear the 10. We will move on and go try to win Phoenix. I haven’t seen the points yet but if you win, you are in.”