No. 22 PPG Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 2nd
Laps Completed: 176/177
Laps Led: 60
Point Standings (behind first): 4th (-55)
Austin Cindric led 60 laps and ran inside the top-three for most of the afternoon, but a late cut tire resulted in an unfortunate 10th-place finish Sunday afternoon in the Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the second race of a double-header weekend at the Florida track. The driver of the No. 22 PPG Ford Mustang moves from fifth to fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings, 55 markers behind leader Noah Gragson.
Cindric started the scheduled 167-lap, 250-mile race in the 14th position after the top-15 finishers from Saturday’s race at Homestead was inverted. The 21-year-old wasted no time capturing the lead on lap 11 and showed good speed for the entire 40-lap first stage. He reported his PPG Ford needed more straight drive and was credited with a third-place stage finish.
A fast pit-stop by the No. 22 PPG pit crew allowed the Mooresville, N.C.-native to start Stage 2 from the second position. Cindric powered his way back to the lead on lap 47. Over the long run, the PPG Mustang developed a loose condition, which caused Cindric to lose the race lead on lap 67 and finish second in Stage 2. He restarted the final stage from the fifth position and by lap 94, Cindric was able to get around the No. 9 of Noah Gragson for the race lead. With 61 laps remaining Cindric suffered a flat right rear tire causing him to pit his PPG Ford on lap 107. He would rejoin the field in the 23rd position, one-lap down to the field. Once green flag stops were complete, Cindric once again cycled out to the leader.
Over the course of the long run and older tires, Cindric would slip back to third position. Coming to the schedule white-flag, Cindric suffered another flat right rear tire to bring out the caution. Cindric would restart NASCAR overtime 16th, once again one lap down to the leaders. Cindric was able to battle his way back inside the top-10, one lap down at the conclusion of the event.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is back in action next Saturday, June 20 at Talladega Superspeedway, with live coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
Quote: “I’ll be beating myself up for a while after today. We had a really fast PPG Ford Mustang the last two days. We’ve been so close to wins this year, I think I caught myself today trying too hard. Not only did that cost us a shot at a win, but a really good points day as well. A lot of things going in the right direction as of late for us. Today was on me, but we’ll keep trying.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!