Team Penske NASCAR XFINITY Race Report
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
Race: Drive for the Cure 200 presented by BCBSNC
Date: September 29, 2018
No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Start: 1st (3rd career NASCAR XFINITY Series Pole)
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 16th
Laps Completed: 55/55
Laps Led: 13
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 9th (-63)
Owner Point Standings (behind first): 3rd (-10)
· Austin Cindric kicked off his Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway by winning the pole position, his third in 28 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and was the first-ever pole winner at the ROVAL.
Cindric led the first 13 laps in the opening stage of the race before spinning while battling for the race lead on lap 14. He quickly recovered and finished fourth when Stage 1 concluded on lap 17. He pitted during the stage caution for four tires and adjustments to aid the No. 22 Mustang on the long run. With several teams on different pit strategies, the 20-year-old would restart Stage 2 from the 10th position.
Once the second stage went green, Cindric wasted no time moving through the pack and toward the front. He said the MoneyLion Ford Mustang was getting tighter as the track gained more rubber. Crew chief Brian Wilson called Cindric to pit road on lap 26 for a scheduled stop under green. He returned to the track in 16th position where he would finish at the end of Stage 2. Cindric did not pit during the stage caution and moved up to fifth position when the race went green on lap 33.
The third and final stage started off chaotic with two full-course cautions on laps 35 and 44. Cindric took advantage on the restarts and worked his way back inside the top three, reporting that his No. 22 Ford Mustang fired off better on the restarts. He just ran out of laps to get closer to the front, finishing third in the 55-lap event, his fourth top-five of the season.
Cindric used his solid afternoon at Charlotte to climb from 11th to ninth-place in the series Playoffs standings, nine points below the cutoff. The No. 22 Ford Mustang team is third in Owner Points, 10 points behind the No. 20 of Joe Gibbs Racing and No. 42 of Chip Ganassi Racing, who are tied for the lead.
Quote: “It’s funny. I complained about not having too much long run speed last week and too much short run speed this weekend. I guess I’ve got to make up my mind, but I’m just over the moon for Chase. He’s had a tough year. I’m super-excited for my buddy. I’m just thankful we were able to get a nice, solid run. It wasn’t a perfect day. I made my own mistakes. I’ve got to apologize to the 7. Obviously, it was a weird merge off of pit road. The 35 kind of checked up and I was just trying to get out of the way, so it was kind of a bummer that we didn’t have a clean day, but it’s good to come home third and get some stage points. That’s the kind of day we needed, so we’ll move on and go to Dover. I think we can run well and have another good run in our Ford Mustang.”