Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Report
Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Race: EchoPark 250
Date: March 20, 2021
No. 22 CarShop Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 22nd
Laps Completed: 163/163
Laps Led: 6
Driver Point Standings (ahead of second): 1st (+46)
- Austin Cindric and the No. 22 CarShop Ford Mustang team battled to a 13th-place finish after the car sustained early damage in the EchoPark 250 Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Before the CarShop Ford suffered a wounded right front fender on lap 39, Cindric led six laps, as he continued his streak of leading laps in every NASCAR event he has raced this season. The driver of the No. 22 Mustang continues to lead the driver point standings, 46 markers ahead of second place.
- Saturday’s starting lineup was set per the NASCAR rule book, which gave Cindric the pole position. The defending Xfinity Series champion jumped out to an early lead but over the long run, the handling of the No. 22 CarShop Mustang began to run extremely loose. Cindric ran in 13th place when the third caution flag of the night was displayed on lap 35, which set up a one-lap sprint to the Stage 1 conclusion.
- Coming to the flag at the end the segment, frantic action resulted in a multi-car incident. Unfortunately, Cindric could not avoid the scattered and slowing cars in front of him and the right front fender of CarShop Ford sustained damage. Cindric was able to finish the first 40-lap stage in the sixth position, as he earned five stage points. Cindric brought the No. 22 Mustang to pit road for repairs, major adjustments and four tires before restarting in the 33rd position.
- During the second stage of the race, the handling woes continued for Cindric and the No. 22 CarShop team. The Mooresville N.C. native radioed to his team that the No. 22 still lacked drive. Cindric was able to make up some track position and finished the second stage in the 22nd position. During the stage caution, Cindric returned to pit lane for adjustments, four tires and fuel while the CarShop Mustang restarted 20th on lap 88.
- Cindric raced his way to 15th by lap 96 and series of cautions slowed the pace, which allowed the field to pit for its last set of tires on lap 133. The CarShop Ford Mustang team slowly improved the handling for Cindric throughout the event and he raced his way up to the 13th position at the conclusion of the EchoPark 250.
- Cindric will be back in action on Sunday afternoon as he makes his second NASCAR Cup Series start for Team Penske in the No. 33 PIRTEK Ford Mustang. Live coverage of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
Quote: “Yeah, obviously getting damage there in stage one definitely didn’t help our chances today, but we struggled off the bat and I’m not sure that helped us. It was just a fight all day today. Hopefully, we learned some things. The good news is we’ve got a second race here to learn even more, so I feel all right about it. It definitely helps us with the notebook moving forward. In the closing laps I saw 10th place and I drove really hard to get there and blew the tires off of it and that was that. That was the closest I was gonna be able to get and that’s how it went.”