Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Race Report
Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Race: ROXOR 200
Date: July 20, 2019
No. 12 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang – Paul Menard
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 5th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): N/A
In his final NASCAR Xfinity Series start for 2019, Paul Menard earned a fifth-place finish in the ROXOR 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Menard collected his second top-five finish in 2019 (he placed fourth earlier at Michigan in June) and claimed his second top-five in eight starts at New Hampshire.
Menard started fourth in the 200-lap race and immediately radioed to the Menards/Richmond team that his Ford Mustang was loose and that he needed grip everywhere on the track. Menard pitted for four fresh tires, fuel, and adjustments during the first caution on lap 33. He restarted 17th when the race went green on lap 37 and advanced his way up to ninth position when Stage 1 ended on lap 45. Crew chief Matt Swiderski made the call for Menard to stay out during the stage caution and take advantage of his track position.
The race went green on lap 52 and soon thereafter Menard radioed his crew that the No. 12 Mustang was still a little loose. But as the laps ticked off and the segment drew to a close, the balance on the Menards/Richmond Ford improved. When Stage 2 ended on lap 90, Menard scored a respectable fifth-place finish. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 92 for four tires and multiple adjustments and restarted in seventh position when the race went green on lap 98.
Menard battled hard with the NXS young guns and moved up to fifth by lap 150. The fifth and final caution waved on lap 155 when Menard and Harrison Burton made contact between Turns 1 and 2. Burton spun and tagged the outside wall and debris from the altercation brought out the caution. With no damage, Menard stayed out and restarted sixth on lap 158. He passed Chase Briscoe on lap 170 to grab fifth position. Try as he might, Menard couldn’t get closer to the front and was forced to settle for a top-five finish when the checkered flag flew on lap 200.
Quote: “We were really loose on short runs and then on long runs, it came in really nice. We just lost some track position by that point. I passed quite a few cars cleanly. A lot of these guys race really clean; some of them don’t. That’s just what the series is right now. Overall, I am proud of the effort our team put out today.”
No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 12th
Stage 2: 8th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-163 leader)
Austin Cindric scored a hard fought 12th-place finish in the ROXOR 200 Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Due to the finish, Cindric fell one position to fifth in the driver point standings, 163 behind leader Tyler Reddick and 17 points behind fourth-place Justin Allgaier.
The driver of the MoneyLion Ford Mustang earned the third place starting position during qualifying Saturday afternoon for the 200-lap, 211-mile race, but started from the rear of the 38-car starting field after an engine change following the first practice session on Friday afternoon.
Once the race started, Cindric wasted no time slicing and dicing his was through traffic. By lap 13 he was up to 17th while was running top-five lap times. The first caution slowed the race on lap 33 with Cindric scored in 15th position. He communicated to his MoneyLion Racing team that his Ford Mustang was loose. Crew chief Brian Wilson made the call to pit during the caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Mixed strategy between cars remaining on track and pitting shuffled Cindric back to 16th for the restart on lap 37. He scrambled his way up to 12th by in the end of Stage 1 on lap 45. Cindric remained on track during the stage caution and restarted ninth on lap 52.
Stage 2 ran caution free and over the long run Cindric’s No. 22 Ford Mustang became “plowing tight.” He stayed inside the top-10 during the second segment and crossed the finish line eighth when the stage concluded on lap 90. Wilson called his driver to pit road during the stage caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments to aid his tight-handling Mustang. A stellar stop by the MoneyLion crew put Cindric third in line when the race went green on lap 98.
Once the green flag waived, Cindric slid back eighth position. He battled back to sixth and was running lap times speeds comparable to the leaders. He battled several laps for fifth position but was back to eighth when the fourth caution fell on lap 142. Wilson made the call to pit during the yellow and another stellar pit stop moved Cindric up to fifth for the restart on lap on lap 147.
A crazy restart resulted in slight contact to the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford. Cindric fell to ninth in line once the field settled into single-file formation. The fifth and final caution slowed the pace once more on lap 155. Cindric would restart in eighth and over the course of the final green flag run, the MoneyLion Ford became tremendously loose, causing Cindric to fall to the 14th position. With just five laps to go, Cindric mounted one final charge and picked off two positions to claimed a 12th-place finish.
Quote: “Plenty of positives to take out of what ended up being a frustrating result. Great speed in our MoneyLion Mustang in both qualifying and in the race plus our guys did stellar work on pit road. A real team effort got us back to the top-five after starting the race at the back of the field. We got shuffled out hard on the final restart and didn’t have enough time to recover. My team worked really hard this weekend and I wish we had a result that matched their effort.”