Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Report
Track: Homestead- Miami Speedway: Race 1
Race: Hooters 250
Date: June 13, 2020
No. 22 PPG Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 167/167
Laps Led: 24
Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-52)
Austin Cindric led 24 laps and had a shot at victory Saturday afternoon in the Hooters 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as he finished second. The result marked Cindric’s fifth finish fourth or better in NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) starts this season. The driver of the No. 22 PPG Ford Mustang move from sixth to fifth in the NXS driver standings, 52 markers behind leader Noah Gragson.
Cindric started the 167-lap, 250-mile race in the ninth position after the lineup was set per random draw. The 21-year-old showed good speed early as he ran inside the top-five for the entire 40-lap stage. He reported his PPG Ford was lacking a little drive off the corners, but the handling improved during the long run. Cindric was credited with a fourth-place stage finish.
The Mooresville, N.C. native started Stage 2 from the third position and powered the PPG Ford to the race lead on lap 47. Over the long run, the PPG Mustang developed a tight-handling condition which caused Cindric to briefly fall to the fourth position. Over the last five laps in the stage, Cindric rallied to finish second in Stage 2.
Cindric restarted the final stage from the fourth position and wasted no time battling for the race lead. With 60 laps remaining, he lost the top spot to the No. 9 car driven by Noah Gragson. Cindric made his scheduled green-flag stop on lap 121 and cycled back into the third position before he slipped to fifth. The last caution flag flew with seven laps remaining which allowed crew chief Brian Wilson to make adjustments for the short run. Cindric restarted fourth with less than five laps remaining. He powered the PPG Mustang to go three-wide while battling for the race lead as he wound up finishing in the runner up position.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is back at Homestead-Miami Speedway tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, June 14, with live coverage starting at 12:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
Quote: “Finish-wise, I think we overachieved a little bit. I think I could have made some better moves on the short run to try to get a stage win or two there, but, overall, another great performance as far as unloading close with something brand new. I think we’ve done that three times successfully and I’m proud of my team. This is the first weekend now that we get to adjust on it, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’ve got to debrief with my guys and come up with a good game plan, but proud of the effort by the PPG Ford Mustang. I’ve got to give a shoutout to Harrison. That’s two guys from Cannon School finishing one-two at Homestead, so not too shabby. Overall, I’ll take it and move on and try to do one more better tomorrow.”