Track: Richmond Raceway
Race: Go Bowling 250
Date: September 11, 2021
No. 22 CarShop Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 6th
Laps Completed: 250/250
Laps Led: 50
Driver Point Standings (behind second): 2nd (-5)
Austin Cindric and the No. 22 CarShop Ford Mustang team lead 50 laps Saturday afternoon at Richmond Raceway but finished the Go Bowling 250 in 16th position after race strategy did not play out. Cindric remains in contention for the regular season championship, trailing leader AJ Allmendinger by five points with just one race remaining in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season.
The starting lineup was once again set per the NASCAR rule book, which gave Cindric the first starting position. The driver of the CarShop Ford Mustang showed speed early, maintaining the lead and running the fastest laps on the track. On lap 35, the competition caution was displayed with the team electing to remain on track. Cindric communicated that the CarShop Ford was tight and lacked forward drive. Throughout the remaining laps of the first 75 lap stage Cindric fell to the third position. During the stage caution, crew chief Brian Wilson called for an air pressure adjustment plus four tires and fuel.
A fast pitstop by the CarShop crew allowed Cindric to restart as the race leader once again. Over the long run, the CarShop Ford continued to lack drive and he fell to the sixth position. With three laps remaining in the second stage, Cindric avoided disaster when two lapped cars spun in front of him and brought out the caution prematurely to end the second stage, with Cindric still scored in sixth. Wilson once again called his driver to pit road during the stage caution for four tires, fuel, plus major adjustments to fix the tight handling condition on the CarShop Mustang, with the driver restarting sixth on lap 158.
Cindric fell to 11th before the sixth caution was displayed allowing the leaders to pit. Cindric received four fresh tires and adjustments on lap 184 and he restarted 18th. As the run continued, Cindric worked his way inside the top-five, running speeds comparable to the race leader.
The caution was displayed again on lap 223, putting the team at a tire disadvantage as they’d used their final set of new tires with other competitors having a set remaining. On the restart, Cindric fell to the 14th position before the ninth caution was displayed with the team electing to pit for scuff tires. Cindric restarted from the 24th position with seven laps remaining and gave it his all racing up to 16th at conclusion of the event.
Quote: “It just wasn’t in the cards for us today with our Carshop Ford Mustang. It felt like we had a top five car. We struggled to find an underlying strength and overlying weakness that we could kind of play to throughout the day. We probably just didn’t quite have enough in a few areas and we just kind of got behind there with the correct tire strategy. We did the right thing putting on tires at the end and kind of minimizing our loss at least points wise, so it was obviously the right move, but I thought today was gonna be a little bit better. This racetrack is one of those that it’s easy to have a bad day and not that I think we salvaged everything out of it because, like I said, I thought we were a top five car, but we never gave up.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!