Ford Performance NASCAR: Cindric Wins NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship



1st – Austin Cindric
9th – Chase Briscoe

American Muscle

MARK RUSHBROOK, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports — WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO HOW THAT RACE ENDED? “It’s incredible to see how Austin has developed from racing in IMSA with us, through trucks and then Xfinity, and to have such a strong breakout season with six wins now and winning the championship shows how much he’s developed. In this race he was just patient, looked for his opportunity and drove with a lot of confidence and got it done.”

WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND WITH HOW THE RACE PLAYED OUT? “It was crazy those last few laps with the cautions and different strategies. Allgaier taking his tires two stops before the end was the start, but I thought it was good that Austin held him off on old tires. I knew once Austin got new tires he just needed a clean shot to pass him, and he went and got it on the green-white-checker.”

MUSTANG HAS NOW WON AN XFINITY DRIVER OR OWNER’S CHAMPIONSHIP IN ALL BUT TWO SEASONS SINCE IT BEGAN RACING IN THE SERIES IN 2011. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO FORD FOR MUSTANG TO HAVE THAT KIND OF SUCCESS? “Mustang is a flagship for Ford Motor Company and it tells a great story about the company because it represents what we’re capable of, so to have it representing the company on the track in so many different series, especially in Xfinity with the success that it’s had, is important. Plus, the new body this year has demonstrated what our engineering tools are capable of in terms of developing and putting successful cars on the track.”

A LOT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT HAVING ONLY TWO MUSTANGS IN THE SERIES, BUT FORD WON 15 OF THE 33 RACES. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SUCCESS OF THIS YEAR WITH AUSTIN AND CHASE? “We knew it would be a challenge with only two cars for this whole season, but we knew we had two great teams with two great drivers. They all showed what they were capable of, so we’re really proud to get those 15 wins and to get this driver’s championship.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang — YOU ARE THE CHAMPION. HOW CONFIDENT WERE YOU IN THAT LAST CALL TO COME TO PIT ROAD? “I watched Sheldon Creed do it last night, so why couldn’t we? Amazing effort by this 22 team. Brian Wilson and all the guys. Everybody back at the shop. There was a lot of work put into this race car. Roger Penske. Everyone from Penske Racing. The Menards family, John, Paul, Jim, Jeff — all those guys that put so much support into racing itself. It’s awesome to get them a championship in NASCAR, to be a champion in NASCAR, and do it in front of all these great people cheering us on at championship weekend. Ford Performance, Doug Yates, everybody at Roush Yates Engines. I’m speechless. I can’t believe it. I’m pretty humbled by the effort for sure.”

EARLIER THIS WEEK YOU SAID WHEN YOU CAME INTO NASCAR YOU KNEW A LOT ABOUT CARS BUT NOT MUCH ABOUT RACING. TO NOW BE A CHAMPION IN NASCAR WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? “I finally learned how to race a little better, that’s for certain. The people that have put the support in me and been dedicated — my spotter Coleman Pressley. All the folks that have supported me throughout my career, not just here but the road racing, driving Rallycross cars. My mom and my dad. I can’t forget them. They’re my parents and they’ve put more support behind me than anyone else. My mom has been my rock for my entire racing career. I told you guys that early in the week and I’m so glad she was here to watch.”

WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT IN THIS RACE? “This thing came to life lap one. I mean, talk about a relationship between driver and crew chief. I can ask him exactly…we were terrible here in the spring race when I moved up, and I asked him, I told him exactly what I needed and he gave it to me and look where we are. It’s amazing.”

WERE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT THAT LAST PIT CALL? “You’d think I’d be nervous this entire weekend, but given how important this race was for me and my team I was happy to be here, happy to be racing for a championship and that mentality has paid off. I’ve been points racing for the last six weeks and I got to drive my ass off for one day and put this Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang in Victory Lane.”

THE CAR SEEMED IT WAS MUCH BETTER ON LONGER RUNS. DID YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES THROUGHOUT THE DAY? “I think we gave her a skosh of air-pressure. I mean, this thing came here perfect. It’s amazing what these guys are capable of. It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of preparation. I know that’s easy to say, but the work gets done and effort equals results.”

DID YOU EVER DREAM YOU WOULD BE A NASCAR CHAMPION AT 9 YEARS OLD WHEN YOU WANTED TO GO RACING? “When I started racing Bandolero and Legends cars I got a lot tougher because I wasn’t very good. I guess to any kid out there that’s trying to make a career at this it’s about the hard work you put in. It’s not about where you start, it’s how you figure it out along the way and I’m very fortunate that I have parents that have seen it all and believe in me and I have a team behind me that does the same.”

IT’S BEEN A DIFFERENT YEAR. ROGER PENSKE IS HERE. WHAT DID HE TELL YOU ON THE RADIO? “He was pumped. This is a guys that gives his drivers what they need and the fact that we were able to get it done with those resources and have a shot at a championship tomorrow. We’re just getting the crowd warmed up for Penske Racing. On Saturday we get the championship and hopefully the boys can get it all on Sunday.”

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Mustang — WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU GO THROUGH TODAY? “I don’t run very good here in general. At the start of the race I felt pretty good. I was able to lead and, honestly, for me, just leading here was a big deal and we were just so loose. I think it was good that first run and then from there I just kept getting looser and looser as the night came. I don’t know how many times I hit the wall in turn one and the same into three. I was so loose. It would cut the center good on the long run. II would lose a straightaway and a half on the short run just being too loose, so I’ve got a lot to do to get a lot better here that’s for dang sure. I hate that it switched from Homestead. I feel like that’s my best track. Of all the years to make it to the final four it just didn’t work out, but overall a great season in our Ford Mustang. I’m glad Austin was able to get the championship. That’s big for Ford. It’s on to next year.”

WHERE ARE YOUR EMOTIONS RIGHT NOW? “It’s nice to know that I’m going to the Cup Series and all these things, but it sucks to run fourth in the championship after the year that we had, but that’s how it works. I didn’t execute and they did a better job, so go on to next year. It’s gonna be an uphill battle all year long, but looking forward to the challenge.”

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE TODAY? “It was just a frustrating day. This is by far not my best racetrack. We started the race and, for me, just leading laps here I was like, ‘Wow, this is different.’ I was just so loose at the beginning of the race and as the night came I was just getting freer and freer. I don’t know how many times I about wrecked into one and would end up hitting the wall. I’ve got to do a lot better job coming here. There’s something about this place that I just really struggle at, so I’ve got a lot of homework to do. It’s definitely frustrating to finish fourth in the championship after the year we had, but, overall, to win nine races it’s been a phenomenal year. I’m happy that we were able to just make the final four with our Mustang. I’m just thankful to be driving in NASCAR honestly. I’m obviously looking forward to next year, but this one obviously hurts. Anytime you can win nine races and finish fourth in the championship isn’t what you wanted, but we’ll keep our heads high and, like I said, just proud of the whole team. To be able to work with me these last two and a half years from where we started to where we are now has been a huge difference, so just thankful to be driving for Stewart-Haas Racing and come back next year.”

HOW HARD DID YOU WORK AT TRYING TO MAKE PHOENIX YOUR HOMESTEAD? “A lot. Homestead I feel like is by far my best racetrack. Phoenix I would say is probably my third or fourth-worst, so I knew it was gonna be an uphill battle. The three guys that are in this final four outside of us are really, really good race car drivers. They do a great job here and we knew it wasn’t gonna be easy coming into it and they just did a better job as a race car driver. I just have to do a lot better here, so definitely do a lot more homework and hopefully come back better.”

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