Team Penske NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Report

June 30, 2018

Track:             Chicagoland Speedway     
Race:              Overton's 300
Date:              June 30, 2018    
No. 12 Menards/Mastercraft Doors Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric 
: 3rd
Stage 1: 9th
Stage 2: 15th
Finish: 14th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 199/200
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind leader): 10th (-169)

  • Austin Cindric started third in Saturday's Overton's 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. After pole-sitter Kyle Larson went to the rear of the field for unapproved changes, Cindric moved to the inside pole position for the race's start.
  • Cindric reported early that his Menards/Mastercraft Doors Ford Mustang was too loose especially in traffic. He fell back to the back half of the top-10 before the end of the first stage. Even while struggling with the balance of the car, he managed a ninth-place finish in the first stage.
  • At the stage's conclusion, crew chief Matt Swiderski called for multiple adjustments including wedge, air pressure and tape on the nose to help Cindric's Ford's balance for the second stage.
  • The 19-year-old series rookie began the second stage and quickly reported that the Menards/Mastercraft Doors Ford Mustang was even looser than the first stage. Cindric fell back to the 15th position, where he finished the second stage. The team opted for major adjustments to begin the third stage. 
  • On the lap 112 pit stop, the crew made a large track bar adjustment along with air pressure. Unfortunately the No. 12 crew was hit with an uncontrolled tire penalty forcing the young driver to start from the rear of the field. 
  • Cindric was happier with the handling of his car to begin the third stage and quickly drove his way back into the top-12. On lap 167, Cindric pitted for a flat right front tire which put him behind once again.
  • He rallied back over the final 30 laps to finish 14th. Cindric currently sits 10th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers' standings.

"It is a great thing we are sponsored by Menards because we had to get a few kitchen sinks to throw at it a few times today. The guys never gave up all day. I never gave up all day. It is hot. We battled back after the flat tire and probably deserve a top-10 finish but I probably wasn't prepared for the track conditions. A lot of that is on me. Lack of experience and lack of knowledge. I know better for next time. We will keep moving forward. I think we gain a spot in points, so we will keep digging."
No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Paul Menard 
:  5th
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 5th
Finish:  8th
Status:  Running
Laps Completed:  200/200
Laps Led: 0
Owner Point Standings (behind first): 2nd (-16)

  • Paul Menard finished eighth behind the wheel of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in Saturday afternoon's Overton's 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
  • Making his third start of 2018 for the No. 22 team, Menard kicked off the 300-mile event by qualifying his Ford Mustang in the fifth position. The veteran driver quickly worked his way to third by lap five.
  • Throughout the first 45-lap stage, Menard fought a tight Ford Mustang and dropped back to the eighth position, where he would finish Stage 1. 
  • On the first scheduled pit stop, crew chief Brian Wilson called for major adjustments in an effort to loosen up the car. A fast stop by the pit crew would line Menard up sixth when the race went back to green on lap 50.
  • The adjustment proved to help Menard on the short run, quickly gaining positions on the restart to move up to third. By lap 59, the Wisconsin-native was running the fastest laps on track. But once again, during the course of the long run, the No. 22 Mustang began to fall off and was too tight center. Menard would end the second stage in the fifth position. 
  • Wilson called for more adjustments to help loosen up the No. 22 Ford. Another speedy stop by the Discount Tire pit crew would place Menard in the third position to start the final stage. 
  • Still battling a tight race car and long green-flag runs, Menard would fall back to the ninth position during the final stage of the 200-lap event. Despite continued adjustments, the Ford was still too tight and Menard would finish in the eighth position for his 99th career top-10 finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
  • The No. 22 Ford team remains second in owner points trailing the No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing by 16 markers.

"We were loose yesterday and we tightened it up but we fought tight all day long. We had really good drive off, just had to slow down too much in the corners. It is a little frustrating but I have one more race with these guys. It is a race we can win."