Team Penske NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Report - Watkins Glen

August 3, 2019

Track:                   Watkins Glen International
Race:                    Zippo 200 at The Glen
Date:                    August 3, 2019

No. 12 Pirtek Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney 

Start: 3rd
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 1st
Finish: 4th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 82/82
Laps Led: 13
Driver Point Standings (behind first): N/A

  • Ryan Blaney finished fourth in Saturday's Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International after an up and down day. The driver of the Pirtek Ford Mustang made his first XFINITY Series start of 2019 and led 13 laps on the day.
  • Blaney rolled off third for the 82-lap, 200-mile event and on the initial start of the race fell back to the fourth position going thru turn 1. He reported to crew chief Matt Swiderski the balance of the Pirtek Ford Mustang was tight and lacked overall drive. In an early strategy move, Blaney would come to pit road on lap 12 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Once the cycle of green flag stops concluded, Blaney would finish Stage 1 in the fifth position.
  • He would stay out under the Stage 1 caution and once racing resumed; he would lead the next 13 laps. Blaney would eventually give up the lead to polesitter Kyle Busch on lap 36 only to quickly regain it after mechanical issues befell No. 18 car on the same lap.
  • A lap 37 restart would see Blaney receive right front nose damage from A.J. Allmendinger's car in turn 1. He would solider on and be credited with the Stage 2 victory after the disqualification of the No. 10 car post-race.
  • Blaney would stay out under the Stage 2 conclusion and still report his Pirtek Ford needed additional forward drive. Once the final stage of the race began, he would come to pit road on lap 48 for four tires, fuel an air pressure adjustment. The changes did not improve the handing of the car and Blaney would battle hard to keep his spot inside the top-10.
  • Blaney would make his final stop of the day on lap 70 under caution for four tires and fuel along with a track bar and air pressure adjustment. He would avoid a multi-crash in turn on lap 74 in turn 1 and a near crash in the esses on the final restart to bring home a fourth-place finish.

Quote: "It was a long day and we just didn't have the car where we wanted it to be. We got closer near the end with the balance. I'm happy for Austin (Cindric) and it was cool to see him get his first win. I was watching his race there at the end and he did a good job."
No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric 

Start: 2nd
Stage 1: 32nd
Stage 2: 4th
Finish: 1st (1st career victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 82/82
Laps Led: 8
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 5th (-191)

  • Austin Cindric and the No. 22 MoneyLion team won the Zippo 200 at The Glen. This was Cindric's first career victory in 54 XFINITY Series starts and his 14th top-10 finish in 2019. Cindric and the No. 22 MoneyLion team remain fifth in the driver point standings, 191 points behind leader Tyler Reddick and 44 points behind fourth-place Justin Allgaier.
  • The driver of the MoneyLion Ford Mustang started his day at Watkins Glen by qualifying second on Saturday morning for the 82-lap, 200-mile race. His qualifying effort was his 10th top-five starting position of the 2019 season.
  • At the drop of the green flag, Cindric showed the strength of the No. 22 MoneyLion Ford early, passing pole sitter Kyle Busch in turn one. The two battled through the twists and turns of the 11-turn road course before Cindric settled into the second position. He communicated to his MoneyLion team his No. 22 Mustang was just a little tight in the bus stop.
  • The pace was slowed for the first time on lap 10 of the 20-lap first stage, setting up different pit strategies amongst teams. The Mooresville, N.C. native would remain on track, restarting from the second position. Shortly after the restart, the caution waived for the second time on lap 13. Crew chief Brian Wilson would commit to strategy and call Cindric down pit road under green on lap 17, three laps before the conclusion of the first stage. Cindric's Mustang would receive four fresh tires and an air pressure adjustment. After service, Cindric would return to the track in 32nd position, where he would remain at the end of Stage 1. 
  • Cindric would restart Stage 2 in 14th on lap 23. The driver of the MoneyLion Ford would waste no time making his way back inside the top-10 in just three laps. The caution would fall once more on lap 33 with Cindric scored in the sixth position. He would remain on track and race into the top-five before the end of Stage 2, scored in fourth on lap 40. 
  • The leaders remained on track during the stage caution, and Cindric would start the final stage fourth and power his way to the second position. Eight laps later, Wilson called Cindric to pit on lap 50 for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments under green. Cindric returned to the track in the 24th position. As the field cycled through green-flag stops, Cindric was scored as the race leader with 19 laps to go.
  • With 15 laps remaining in the race, the caution waived. The call was to pit from the lead for four fresh tires. Cindric would line up ninth with 10-laps to go. As the race restarted, Cindric had a stellar restart and was moved up to the sixth position. Shortly after, another late-race caution slowed the field. With seven laps to go, Cindric took to the outside lane as cars stacked on the inside, powering his way to the second position. Cindric would hit his lines and catch then leader AJ Allmendinger with two laps remaining. He would make the pass for the lead and capture Team Penske's eighth XFINITY Series victory at Watkins Glen.

Quote: "First of all, AJ (Allmendinger) is a heck of a race car driver, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy even with way newer tires. I'm just so blessed and appreciative of this kind of an opportunity to race these type of cars and I hope this is the first of many victories. It's about the people you surround yourself with and I'm very lucky to have great parents and the best team to be able to execute like we did today."