Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Race Report
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Race: Food City 300
Date: September 17, 2021
No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 7th
Stage 2: 4th
Laps Completed: 306/306
Laps Led: 75
Driver Point Standings (ahead of second): 1st (+0)
- Austin Cindric started ninth and finished second while crashing just past the start finish line in a wild NASCAR Overtime on Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Cindric led 75 laps on his way to the second-place finish in the Food City 300 and ended the regular season with the No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang team earning another 10 playoff points to use in their Championship quest, finishing second in the regular season standings. The team enters the first NASCAR XFINITY Playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next Saturday as the number one seed.
- In the early laps of the race, Cindric drove the No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang into the top-five, reaching the fourth position prior to the lap 40 competition caution. During the run, the driver reported that the handling of his Mustang was building slightly free on corner entry. Cindric would later get trapped behind a car on the inside line on a restart, dropping him to the seventh position at the end of Stage 1. Crew chief Brian Wilson adjusted on the No. 22 Mustang with air pressure on the stage ending stop, looking to give Cindric additional entry security and center turn.
- Despite radioing the team that the Mendards/Richmond Mustang was too tight in the opening laps of Stage 2, Cindric quickly found himself racing back inside the top-five. As the stage wore on, Cindric was able to move up, becoming the first car to make good lap times in the second and third lane around the high-banked concrete half-mile. Cindric remained in the top-five, finishing Stage 2 in the fourth position. On the stage ending stop, the team elected to make a trackbar adjustment to help with the No. 22 Menards/Richmond Mustang being too tight on fire-off.
- With the trackbar adjustment working favorably, Cindric powered to the second position at lap 210 with only 90 laps remaining in the scheduled distance. Cindric would take the lead for the first time of the night at lap 230 before a caution at lap 240 which set up setting up the final stop of the race. The team delivered on a four-tire stop, sending Cindric back to the track with the lead.
- While leading and lapping cars, Cindric received contact to his left rear, but maintained control of the No. 22 Menards/Richmond Mustang, driving out to a one-second lead and cruising to the win. With only three laps remaining, a caution flag was displayed for a spin in second-place, sending the race to NASCAR Overtime.
- On the restart, Cindric received heavy left-side contact from eventual race winner AJ Allmendinger and then again from Justin Allgaier. Cindric was able to rally back to the second position, getting inside Allmendinger before the two made contact at the checkered flag. Cindric netted another 10-playoff points with his regular season performance and enters the NASCAR XFINITY Playoffs with 44 total playoff points.
Quote: “Yeah. Absolutely. I’m sure everybody in the grandstands tonight will remember this one. I certainly will. That’s two years in a row in this race that I feel like we should have won. That’s a lot of races in this neon yellow car that I feel like we should have won this year, so really disappointed for Menards, Richmond, Team Penske — all the hard work these guys put in. We put ourselves in position. That’s all you can ask for and I guess that’s short track racing.”