Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race: Alsco 300
Date: May 25, 2019
No. 22 PPG Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 14th
Stage 2: 6th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-106)
- Austin Cindric and the No. 22 PPG team scored a hard fought ninth-place finish in the Alsco 300 Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Cindric claimed his ninth top-10 in 11 races this season and his best finish in two races at Charlotte. He now has 22 top-10 finishes in 45 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. Cindric remains fourth in the driver point standings, three points behind third-place Cole Custer and 106 points behind the leader.
- The driver of the PPG Ford Mustang kicked off his day at Charlotte by qualifying seventh on Saturday morning. Cindric said his No. 22 Mustang was loose at the start of the 200-lap race, falling to the 14th position shortly after the drop of the green flag. He maintained his position throughout Stage 1 and was credited with 14th-place when the segment ended on lap 45. Cindric pitted during the stage caution for four tires, fuel and major adjustments to aid his ill-handling Ford and restarted 13th when the race went green on lap 54.
- On the restart, Cindric powered his way to the 11th position but by lap 65, the Mooresville, N.C. native reported that his No. 22 Mustang was loose. On lap 67, he spun off Turn 2, bringing out the third caution of the race. An excellent save by the young driver allowed him to avoid damage. He pitted during the caution for four fresh tires, but the unplanned stop gave his competition the advantage of an extra set of tires.
- Cindric restarted 23rd on lap 71 and used his advantage of newer tires to power his way inside the top-10 by lap 77. He was up to sixth-place when Stage 2 concluded on lap 90. Crew chief Brian Wilson made the call to pit during the stage caution on lap 96 and put on their last set of new tires plus make another round of adjustments. Cindric lined up seventh when the race went green on lap 99 to start the third and final stage.
- The final stage was peppered with six cautions, which gave the PPG team opportunities to improve the balance on their No. 22 Mustang. Without the benefit of new tires, the team focused on chassis adjustments.
- On lap 182, Wilson called Cindric to pit road for one more round of adjustments plus a set of scuffed tires for the final run to the finish. But Cindric was penalized when he pitted before pit road was opened by NASCAR, which shuffled him deep in the field for the restart on lap 185, 15 laps from the finish. Cindric restarted 23rd but scrambled his way through traffic over the final laps to grab his fifth consecutive top-10.
Quote: “It wasn’t the cleanest day by any means. I’m proud to come home with a top 10. That’s probably about the only positive. I thought I learned the right lessons from last year and I guess I didn’t prepare enough for conditions being different or whatever. But I’m proud to come home P9 with the PPG Ford Mustang with one less set of tires than everybody. We’ve got a hard-working team and I’m very thankful for that. This is the first time we’ve had a day like this, so that’s kind of a positive, but, overall, looking forward to getting to Pocono and having a clean run.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!