Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Report
Track: Phoenix Raceway
Race: Desert Dimond Casino West Valley 200
Date: November 7, 2020
No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 2nd
Stage 2: 1st (11th Stage Win of 2020)
Finish: 1st (Eighth NASCAR Xfinity Series Victory)
Laps Completed: 206/206
Laps Led: 75
Point Standings (ahead of second): 1st (+8)
Austin Cindric and the No. 22 Menards/Richmond Mustang grabbed the lead on the final lap to win at Phoenix Raceway and capture the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. Cindric won for the sixth time this season and his first in six starts at the one-mile Arizona speedway and his 100th NASCAR Xfinity Series start.
Cindric started the 200-lap, 200-mile event from the third position after the field was set per the NASCAR rule book. He battled a slightly loose-handling Menards/Richmond Mustang throughout the first 45-lap stage, a segment that was slowed by four yellow flags including the competition caution on lap 20. Cindric and Ford Performance teammate, Chase Briscoe put on an impressive battle for the lead, racing side-by-side for multiple laps. The driver of the Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang finished second when the stage concluded on lap 45. Crew chief Brian Wilson called his driver to the pit lane during stage caution for four tires, fuel, and Cindric restarted fifth on lap 53.
He was up to second position when the fifth caution was displayed on lap 74. The 22-year-old driver took the lead on lap 83 and held on to win Stage 2 when the segment concluded on lap 90. Cindric pitted during the stage caution for four tires, fuel, and a slight adjustment to aid his tight handling Mustang and restarted third on lap 98.
Cindric took the lead on lap 130 and made a scheduled stop under green on lap 162. A caution came out on lap 171 before the green flag pit cycle was complete with Cindric in fourth position. He remained on track during caution and cycled to the race lead for the restart on lap 177. Cindric steadily pulling away from the field when the eighth and final caution was displayed on lap 199, setting up a NASCAR Overtime dash to the finish. Cindric pitted during the caution for four tires and fuel and restarted third. He motored by Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson over the final two laps to claim his first NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and eighth-career victory.
Cindric’s championship is Team Penske’s second NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, and series tying fifth NASCAR Xfinity Series owners Championship.
Quotes: “This was an amazing effort by Brian Wilson and everybody back at the shop. There was a lot of work put into this Ford Mustang. I’ve got to thank Roger Penske and everyone from Team Penske plus the Menards family who 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. Thanks to Ford Performance, Doug Yates, and everybody at Roush Yates Engines. I’m speechless. I’m pretty humbled by the effort for sure.”