Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Race Report
Track: ISM Raceway
Race: Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200
Date: November 9, 2019
No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 10th
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): fifth (-1748)
The good news for Austin Cindric was that he overcame a speeding penalty to score a sixth-place finish Saturday afternoon at ISM Raceway, his 23rd top-10 in 32 races this season and his third at the one-mile Arizona speedway. The not so good news: despite the tremendous effort, it wasn’t enough to for the young driver to transfer into the Championship 4 next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Needing a win to advance in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, the No. 22 Discount Tire team was eliminated from championship contention.
The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang started the 200-lap, 200-mile race in seventh position. During the first caution on lap 15, Cindric communicated to his team that his Discount Tire Mustang was too loose, which caused him to fall to 10th in the early laps. As the first 45-lap stage progressed, Cindric said his No. 22 Ford began to tighten up on the long run. He was credited with 10th-place when Stage 1 concluded. Cindric pitted during the stage caution for four new Goodyear tires, fuel and adjustments to improve the balance on his Mustang.
Cindric restarted ninth when the race went green on lap 53. Stage 2 ran caution free and Cindric raced his way to the seventh position when the segment concluded on lap 90. The Mooresville, N.C. native communicated to crew chief Brian Wilson that his No. 22 Ford was better on the long run but lacked grip on the initial start. Wilson called for four fresh tires and fuel during the stage caution. Cindric was penalized for excessive speed on pit road and he was forced to restart from the tail end of the field when the race went green on lap 98.
Cindric raced his way back inside the top-five when the fourth and final caution was displayed on lap 117. Wilson made the call for a fuel-only stop during the yellow, which moved Cindric up to fifth for the restart on lap 120. He had fallen to eighth-place by lap 163 but rallied over the final 37 laps to claim a sixth-place finish when the race concluded on lap 200.
Quote: “The first stage didn’t quite go as planned. We probably started out a little too free and craziness ensued around us, but that’s playoff racing. That’s why everyone shows up here. Thanks to Discount Tire for their support. My biggest fall on the day was speeding on pit road after an awesome pit stop by my guys. That’s the second time I’ve ever done that, so poor timing on my end, but that’s racing and how it goes. We can’t hang our heads too low. We’ve got a lot to be proud of this season.”