Team Penske NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Report - Darlington

May 8, 2021

Track:    Darlington Raceway
Race:     Steakhouse Elite 200
Date:     May 8, 2021 

No. 22 CarShop Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric  
Start: 2nd
Stage 1: 1st (Fifth Stage Win of 2021)
Stage 2: 8th
Finish: 29th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 147/148
Laps Led: 34
Driver Point Standings (ahead of second): 1st (+39)


  • Misfortune struck Austin Cindric late in the Steakhouse Elite 200 Saturday afternoon at Darlington Raceway, leaving the driver of the No. 22 CarShop Ford Mustang with a 29th-place finish. Cindric continues to lead the driver point standings, 39 markers ahead of second place.
  • The starting lineup was once again set per the NASCAR rule book, which gave Cindric the second starting position. He showed strength early in the race, leading 34 laps and winning Stage 1, collecting his fifth stage win of the season. Cindric took the lead from Noah Gragson on lap 26 and was out front when the segment ended on lap 45. As the track rubbered up, Cindric communicated his CarShop Ford began to loosen up. During the Stage caution Crew Chief Brian Wilson called for a trackbar adjustment plus four tires and fuel on lap 48. Cindric restarted fourth when the race went green on lap 52.
  • Cindric steadily ran inside the top-five despite the fact his Mustang was not handling to his liking. The fifth caution set up a four-lap dash to the finish of the stage, prompting mixed pit strategy among the leaders. Cindric remained on track and restarted second while others pitted for fresh tires. The new tires proved to be a big advantage and Cindric was shuffled back to ninth-place when the segment concluded on lap 90. Wilson once again called his driver to pit road during the stage caution for four tires, fuel, plus wedge and a rubber in a the left-front spring to improve the balance on the No. 22 Ford. He lined up 18th for the restart on lap 99.
  • The Mooresville N.C., native sliced and diced through traffic and was running 11th when the seventh caution was displayed on lap 127, setting up another round of pits stops among the leaders. Cindric gained two positions after the visit to pit road and restated ninth on lap 131. Two more cautions would slow the pace (on laps 133 and 143), the latter forcing the finish of the race into NASCAR Overtime. Cindric pitted during the final caution for four tires, hoping the advantage of fresh rubber would work to his advantage in the closing laps. He lined up 20th but was involved in an accident off Turn 2 and didn't complete the final lap, leaving him with a 29th place finish. 

Quote: "It's just unfortunate. We started off strong and won the first stage and led some laps. Everyone on the CarShop team did a great job throughout the race. At the end we were just trying to do what the others didn't. It just didn't work out for us and we will move on to Dover next week."