No. 22 MoneyLion – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 7th
Laps Completed: 147/147
Laps Led: 0
Point Standings (ahead of second): 1st (+54)
Austin Cindric and the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang team battled their way through tight conditions and an unscheduled pitstop to score a 12th-place finish in the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 Saturday afternoon at Darlington Raceway. Cindric continues to lead the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings, 54 markers ahead of second place Chase Briscoe.
Cindric started the 147-lap, 200-mile event from fourth position after the field was set per the NASCAR rule book. The first 45-lap stage saw three cautions, including the competition caution on lap 20. Early in the segment Cindric was second and communicated to crew chief Brian Wilson that his MoneyLion Ford was tight. He remained inside the top-five as Stage 1 progressed and claimed a third-place finish when the opening stage ended. Wilson made the call to pit during the stage caution for four tires, fuel, and adjustments and Cindric restarted third when the race went green on lap 52.
Stage 2 ran caution-free until the fourth caution slowed the pace on the lap 90, the final lap of the segment. Throughout the long run, the MoneyLion Ford became too loose and Cindric began to slowly lose track position, dropping to seventh by the completion of stage. Wilson again made the call to pit during the stage caution for four fresh tires, fuel, and major adjustment to aid Cindric’s Ford. Nice work on the pit lane by the MoneyLion crew kept Cindric in seventh position for the restart on lap 95.
He was up to fourth position by the time the sixth caution was displayed on lap 111. Cindric pitted during the yellow for four tires. He left pit road third, but a mixture of different pit strategy pushed him back to 12th for the restart on lap 114. The final caution slowed the race on lap 119 and was briefly red flagged for track cleanup. Once the race restarted, Cindric pitted to make certain all the wheels were tight. The driver of the MoneyLion Ford restarted 16th with 21 laps remaining. As the laps ticked off, Cindric’s Ford steadily became tighter with each passing lap, but he was able to move up through traffic to claim a 12th-place finish by the end of the 147-lap event.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is back in action with the Richmond Raceway doubleheader next weekend. The first race will take place on Friday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio followed by race two on Saturday, September 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
Quote: “I think the biggest positives we can take away as a group for our No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang was we learned a lot. We tried something new and tried to fix the problems with something new and I think we learned more of what not to do today and how to be better in trying to apply it later on. Without being overly specific, I feel like we learned those things. We didn’t have a very good day execution-wise. We had to come back in and tighten up some lugnuts there after everyone had made their final pit stops, so that was obviously lost all of our track position and we struggled to make our way back up. I didn’t think we were really well-suited for the end of the race there and probably didn’t do myself any favors with some of the damage I got throughout the day, but, overall, we learned some things and tried some things. We were aggressive with the things that we tried today, so I think that’s something to be proud of — that we’re in that kind of a position and have that kind of confidence in ourselves, but I think it’s just as important to be able to go back and rebound next week at Richmond.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!