Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Report
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Race: Andy’s Frozen Custard 335
Date: October 16, 2021
No. 22 Snap-on Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 1st – Tenth Stage Win of 2021
Stage 2: 11th
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 34
Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-4)
Austin Cindric and the No.22 Snap-on Ford team opened the Round of 8 with a solid fifth-place finish Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway. The reigning series champion won the first stage for his 10th stage victory of the season and lead a total of 34 laps. The finish was also Cindric’s sixth top-five and seventh top-10 in eight starts at the Lone Star 1.5-mile oval. He heads into Kansas Speedway second in points, trailing championship points leader AJ Almendinger by 4 points.
The starting lineup was once again set per the NASCAR rulebook, which gave Cindric the second starting position. During the opening laps he steadily chipped away at championship rival AJ Allmendinger’s lead, capturing the top position on lap 14. He reported his Snap-on Ford was a little tight but solid. The third caution was displayed with six laps remaining in the first 45-lap stage, setting up for mixed pit road strategy and a one lap dash to the Stage 1 finish. Cindric was able to hold on to the lead position and capture the Stage 1 win. He came to pit road during the caution for four tires, fuel, and an adjustment to loosen up his Mustang as he restarted Stage 2 in the 19th position.
He slipped to the 24th position on the restart, going three-wide but over the course of the caution filled second stage, raced his way to 11th. He radioed to his team that his Snap-on Ford was still tight and could use more turn. He pitted during the stage caution on lap 94 for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment to improve the balance on the No. 22 Mustang. Cindric lined up sixth when the race went green on lap 97.
Shortly after the restart, Cindric raced his way back inside the top-five, running fourth when the ninth caution slowed the race on lap 141. Cindric said his Mustang was still a little tight and needed more stability to run with the leaders. Crew chief Brian Wilson called his driver to pit road for four tries, fuel, and another air pressure adjustment. Cindric restarted third with 51 laps to go. Over the course of the green flag run, Cindric fell to the fifth position still battling a tight racecar. The caution was displayed once again on lap 172 allowing the field to pit one final time. Wilson called for a round of wedge out of the Snap-on Ford to help the Mustang turn better, in addition to four fresh tires and fuel. The Mooresville, N.C. native restarted eighth with 21 laps left and raced his way to the fifth position by the end of the 200-lap race.
Quote: “It was a solid day. Obviously, the strategy there in Stage 1 that made for an eventful Stage 2 trying to get back through the field with our Snap-on Ford Mustang. I wish that would have been able to be more straight-up because we could have had good stage points. Otherwise, we just struggled tight and struggled to keep up with the track. I felt like we made a really good adjustment on the last run but just didn’t have enough laps. It was an interesting day. No major dramas. I feel like we brought a good package, it was just really hard to predict what the track was going to do with the resin they added. It was fun trying to learn that throughout the day. Obviously, we wanted to win to lock in, but we have a good amount of points to work with for the next two weeks.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!