NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Report - Road America

August 28, 2017

Track:                    Road America
Race:                     Johnsonville 180
Date:                     August 27, 2017

No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric

Start:  1st
Finish: 16th
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  45/45
Laps Led: 1
Owner's Points Position (ahead of second): 1st (+112)

Recap: Austin Cindric made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut on Sunday afternoon driving the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang at Road America - and the day couldn't have been more of a roller coaster for the 18-year-old driver. After timing in third in both of Saturday's practice sessions at the 4-mile track, all eyes were on the sky as rain threated qualifying and the race on Sunday. Eventually, qualifying was rained out and the lineup set by Owners' points, which put Cindric on the pole for his first series start. At the drop of the green, Cindric fell to second and settled in before starting to reel in the leader. A quick caution saw Cindric drop back to third on the ensuing restart, where he would finish the first 10-lap stage. Unfortunately, during the pit stop at the conclusion of stage one, crew chief Greg Erwin and the Discount Tire team had to make repairs to the nose of the Ford Mustang and Cindric had to restart at the back of the field. During the second stage, Cindric was a man on a mission and drove all the way into the top-10, but a multi-car crash in front of him resulted in getting spun around after contact from another car. Thankfully, the damage was minimal and he was able to finish the stage in the 12th position. Over the final 25 laps, varying pit calls played out and – thanks to Erwin's strategy and fast laps turned on the track by Cindric - the youngster was in position to grab a top-three finish and possibly even contend for the win. However, with less than 10 laps to go, Cindric ran over a piece of debris and cut the left rear tire on the Discount Tire Ford Mustang, forcing him to pit under green. Another caution that would have allowed Cindric to catch up to the field never came and he would eventually go on to finish 16th.

Quote: "I'm proud of the way things went today. Obviously, I would have liked a better finish with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang. All of the guys did a great job and gave me a really fast car all weekend long.  There were so many questions leading into the day with the chance of rain, but we stuck to our plan and we were fast. Despite the damage we got on the nose with the No. 42 in stage one and the spin at the end of stage two, we were still in a position to possibly win the race had everything played out the way we had hoped. That's something to be proud of – for this team and for myself in my debut. I learned a lot out there and I can't wait to get a chance to drive this car again at some point."