Team Penske NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Report - Indianapolis

September 10, 2018

Track:   Indianapolis Motor Speedway   
Race:    Lilly Diabetes 250
Date:    September 10, 2018
No. 12 Wabash National Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
: 31st
Stage 1: 34th
Stage 2: 34th
Finish: 34th
Status: Accident
Laps Completed: 24/100
Laps Led: 0
Driver Points Position (behind first): 12th (-391)

  • Austin Cindric and the No. 12 Wabash National Ford Mustang started the rain-delayed Lilly Diabetes 250 from the 31st position Monday morning after the field was set per the rule book. Rain plagued the Indianapolis area Friday and Saturday, washing out all practice, qualifying and postponing the 100-lap event.

  • As the first 30-lap segment got underway, Cindric wasted little time in his charge to the front.  After taking the green, Cindric was in the top-20 by lap three and up to 16th position by the competition caution on lap 10.

  • The NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie communicated to his No. 12 Wabash team that the Mustang was loose in traffic. Fill-in crew chief Greg Erwin called Cindric to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and minor adjustment to tighten up the car.

  • The 20-year-old driver restarted from 16th and quickly worked his way up to the 12th position. Unfortunately, a multi-car accident in front of Cindric on lap 24 forced the 20-year-old to slow and dive low through the grass in order to miss the crash. In doing so, the front splitter of the No. 12 was ripped from the car in the wet grass and caused extensive damage.  Ultimately, the damage could not be fixed in the allotted time and Cindric was forced to retire from the event.

  • The 34th-place finish dropped Cindric to 12th in the drivers point standings with one regular season event to go.  He is 57 points ahead of the cutoff line for the final XFINITY Series playoff spot.

"It’s frustrating, but at the end of the day its racing and it’s what you’ve got to go through.  It obviously makes Vegas a much more important race now- which all I wanted to do this weekend was to prevent that - but I’m not sure there’s much there we could do to prevent that.  I think we had a car capable of winning the race.  I’ve had a lot of cars capable of winning races, and that’s all I can ask for and when the circumstances aren’t in my control, it is what it is. So we’ll move on and get over it."
No. 22 Menards / Richmond Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
:  1st
Stage 1:  18th
Stage 2: 14th     
Finish: 3rd
Status:  Running
Laps Completed: 100/100
Laps Led: 0
Owner Points Position (ahead of second):  1st (+35)

  • Ryan Blaney and the No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang started Monday morning’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the pole position, due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon.  Persistent weekend rain kept teams from participating in any practice or qualifying prior to the event.

  • As the race went green at 10am, Blaney fell back several spots, reporting that the handling of his Ford Mustang was extremely loose in traffic. A quick competition caution came out just 10 laps in and crew chief Brian Wilson called for multiple adjustments, including track bar and air pressure adjustments to tighten the car up.

  • When racing resumed, the changes did not make a huge difference and Blaney continued to struggle with a loose Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang. Wilson elected to bring Blaney to pit road before the end of stage 1. Unfortunately, the No. 22 team was nabbed for an uncontrolled tire penalty. Stage 1 would finish with a one lap shootout and Blaney would finish 18th.

  • Blaney would stay out during the stage break and regain much of the track position that he lost with the penalty. He reported to his crew during the midway point of stage 2 that his car was good in clean air, but very loose in traffic. Blaney would make his final pit stop of the race on lap 57. Unfortunately he was given a pit road speeding penalty that once again dropped him to rear of the field for a second time.

  • Over the last 40 laps, Blaney fought his way back into contention for the win. The adjustments made during the earlier stops allowed him to make several key passes that got him to the third-position with 10 laps to go. Blaney gave a valiant effort, but could not find a way around JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier and Tyler Reddick.  It was his fourth top-five in just four starts this season.

  • The No. 22 team still leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series Owners’ point standings, 35 markers ahead of the No. 7 from JR Motorsports. 

"I’m proud of the Menards team. I sped on pit road the last stop and that sealed our fate, so I thought I lost it for us. I had a good enough car to drive back up through there, but didn’t have enough to get the lead. This was my last XFINITY Series start of 2018 and I wish them all the best in the hunt for another owners’ title."